Tickets & Events

Andris Nelsons conducts Beethoven and Mahler featuring pianist Martin Helmchen

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Hall - Boston, MA View Map

The young, Berlin-born pianist Martin Helmchen, who made his BSO debut in 2011 at Tanglewood with Schumann's Piano Concerto and his subscription series debut in 2015 with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor, is now featured in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, which pays homage to Mozart and Haydn while also exhibiting Beethoven's own intense individuality. Written nearly a century later, the first of Mahler's nine symphonies employs folk-music references and a conventional four-movement form that have their foundations in Haydn's time. Its expanded scope and instrumentation are evidence of the genre's 19th-century transformation as well as Mahler's own expansion of the form.

On the advice of his doctors, conductor Christoph von Dohnányi has regrettably been forced to withdraw from the Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts in Boston November 16-18 as he continues to heal and regain his strength following a fall he suffered earlier this year. BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons will replace Maestro von Dohnányi for the program, which will include Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring Martin Helmchen, and Mahler's First Symphony.

 

Featured Performers

Andris Nelsons, conductor
View biography in full page >

The 2018-19 season is Andris Nelsons’ fifth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. Named Musical America’s 2018 Artist of the Year, Mr. Nelsons will lead fourteen of the BSO’s twenty-six subscription programs in 2018-19, ranging from orchestral works by Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Copland to concerto collaborations with acclaimed soloists, as well as world and American premieres of pieces newly commissioned by the BSO from Thomas Adès, Sebastian Currier, Andris Dzenītis, and Mark-Anthony Turnage; the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra, and concert performances of Puccini’s one-act opera Suor Angelica. In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, Andris Nelsons’ contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In November 2017, he and the orchestra toured Japan together for the first time. In February 2018, he became Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, in which capacity he brings both orchestras together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance. Immediately following the 2018 Tanglewood season, Maestro Nelsons and the BSO made their third European tour together, playing concerts in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, and Amsterdam. Their first European tour, following the 2015 Tanglewood season, took them to major European capitals and the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals; the second, in May 2016, took them to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg.

The fifteenth music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his BSO subscription series debut in January 2013. His recordings with the BSO, all made live in concert at Symphony Hall, include the complete Brahms symphonies on BSO Classics; Grammy-winning recordings on Deutsche Grammophon of Shostakovich’s symphonies 5, 8, 9, and 10, the initial releases in a complete Shostakovich symphony cycle for that label; and a new two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 4 and 11, The Year 1905. Under an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons is also recording the complete Bruckner symphonies with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.

The 2018-19 season is Maestro Nelsons’ final season as artist-in-residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and marks his first season as artist-in-residence at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. In addition, he continues his regular collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic. Throughout his career, he has also established regular collaborations with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has been a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2015, principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009, and music director of Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007.

 

Andris Nelsons, conductor Martin Helmchen, piano
View biography in full page >

With his highly virtuosic yet unpretentious style, Martin Helmchen has become one of the great pianists of his generation. Born in 1982, he has made a series of sensational U.S. orchestral debuts, beginning in 2011 at Tanglewood, playing the Schumann Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Christoph von Dohnányi. In 2014, with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, he gave a revelatory performance of the Dvorák Piano Concerto; in 2015, he made his Symphony Hall debut, performing Beethoven's Concerto No. 5 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and in 2016, he performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2. This past season, he debuted with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra at Lincoln Center under Thierry Fischer, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25. During the 2017/2018 season, he will make debuts with both the San Diego and Kansas City symphonies.

Mr. Helmchen has also appeared with the symphonies of Dallas, Grand Rapids, Houston, Portland (Oregon), Saint Louis, and San Francisco, as well as with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom. In May 2014, he made a highly acclaimed recital debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Among Martin Helmchen's worldwide highlights are performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Philharmonic, and the NHK Symphony in Japan. Other international engagements include the City of Birmingham Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gürzenich-Orchester/Cologne, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Philharmonia Orchestra/London, Prague Symphony, and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Artist-in-Residence with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra during the 2011/2012 season, he has also appeared with the BBC/London, Bournemouth Symphony, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie/Bremen, Dresden Philharmonic, DSO/Berlin, Hallé Orchestra/Manchester, Giuseppe Verdi Symphony/Milan, NDR/Hamburg, Netherlands Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre National de France, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, RSO/Berlin, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, among others. In France, he tours with La Chambre Philharmonique under Emmanuel Krivine.

Mr. Helmchen has collaborated with such renowned conductors as David Afkham, Marc Albrecht, Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Mark Elder, Lawrence Foster, Edward Gardner, Valery Gergiev, Hans Graf, Manfred Honeck, Philippe Herreweghe, Pablo Heras-Casado, Marek Janowski, Michail Jurowski, Vladimir Jurowski, Bernhard Klee, Jiri Kout, Sir Neville Marriner, the late Kurt Masur, Andris Nelsons, Sir Roger Norrington, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Christoph Poppen, Markus Poschner, Michael Sanderling, Heinrich Schiff, Marcus Stenz, Krzysztof Urbanski, Gilbert Varga, and David Zinman, to name a few.

Also an enthusiastic recitalist, Martin Helmchen has performed at prestigious venues around the world, such as The Frick Collection/New York, Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall (with cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker), the Coast Recital Society, San Francisco Performances, ArtSpring, the Wigmore Hall/London, and the Alte Oper in Frankfort. He also appears regularly at major German festivals, we well as the Schubertiade, Lockenhaus, and Marlboro. In 2017, he will be artist in residence at Germany's Schwetzingen SWR Festival.

With a passion for chamber music, largely ignited by his early collaborations with the late cellist Boris Pergamenschikow, Mr. Helmchen now performs regularly with Heinrich Schiff and Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Other partners include Juliane Banse, Veronika Eberle, Julia Fischer (with whom he is on tour in Asia during the current season), Sharon Kam, Gidon Kremer, Sabine Meyer, Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt, and Tabea Zimmermann. Since 2010, he has been an Associate Professor of chamber music at the Kronberg Academy. Last summer he was invited to return to Elena Bashkirova's International Chamber Music Festival in Jerusalem.

An active recording artist, Martin Helmchen's debut disc of Mozart concertos with the Netherlands Chamber Philharmonic was released in September 2007 through his exclusive contract with PentaTone. A second Mozart concerto disc with the same orchestra was released in 2013. His first solo CD, a recording of works by Schubert, won an ECHO Award in 2009. Other discs for PentaTone include the Mendelssohn concertos, the Schumann and Dvorák concertos, and the highly acclaimed complete works of Schubert for violin and piano with Julia Fischer.

Mr. Helmchen studied at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Galina Iwanzowa, at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hanover with Arie Vardie, and with William Grant Naboré. His career took off when he won the 2001 Clara Haskil International Piano Competition at the age of nineteen. Other distinctions include a fellowship from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust in 2005; the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2006 (culminating in his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Valery Gergiev at the Lucerne Festival); and soloist in the "BBC New Generation Artists" program from 2005 to 2007.

Martin Helmchen, piano
Program Notes Audio
BEETHOVEN - Piano Concerto No. 3 (35 min)
MAHLER - Symphony No. 1 (58 min)
-- - Full Program Notes
Listen/Watch Related Media

The BSO Media Center offers program snapshots of upcoming performances as well as audio concert previews and video podcasts!