Biography Frank Peter Zimmermann & Martin Helmchen

Frank Peter Zimmermann
is widely regarded as one of the foremost violinists of his generation. Praised for his selfless musicality, his brilliance and keen intelligence he has been performing with all major orchestras in the world for well over three decades, collaborating on these occasions with the world’s most renowned conductors. His many concert engagements take him to all important concert venues and international music festivals in Europe, the United States, Asia, South America and Australia.

Highlights during the 2020/21 season include engagements with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Kirill Petrenko, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester and Vladimir Jurowski, the Staatskapelle Dresden and Daniele Gatti, the Tonhalle Orchester and Paavo Järvi, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Karina Canellakis and the Münchner Philharmoniker and Pablo Heras-Cassado. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic scheduled appearances with both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra in the fall of 2020 have been postponed to a later season. As part of the celebrations of the Beethoven year 2020, Frank Peter Zimmermann will be joined by pianist Martin Helmchen to perform partial or complete cycles of the sonatas at among others the Wigmore Hall in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Prinzregententheater in München, the Konserthus in Stockholm and the Philharmonie in Luxembourg.

Together with viola player Antoine Tamestit and cellist Christian Poltéra he forms the Trio Zimmermann; the trio performs in all major music centres and festivals in Europe. BIS Records has released award-winning CD recordings of works for string trio by Beethoven (Op. 3, Op. 8 and Op. 9), Mozart (Divertimento KV 563), Schubert (Trio, D 471), Schoenberg (Trio, op. 45) and Hindemith (Trios 1 and 2). May 2019 saw the release of the recording of the Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach.

Mr. Zimmermann has given four world premieres: Magnus Lindberg’s violin concerto no. 2 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden (2015) with further performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, both under Daniel Harding and with the New York Philharmonic and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, both under Alan Gilbert. He also premiered the violin concerto “en sourdine” by Matthias Pintscher with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Peter Eötvös (2003), the violin concerto “The Lost Art of Letter Writing” by Brett Dean, who received the 2009 Grawemeyer Award for this composition, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by the composer (2007) and the violin concerto no. 3 “Juggler in Paradise” by Augusta Read Thomas with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Andrey Boreyko (2009).

He received a number of special prizes and honours, among which the “Premio del Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena” (1990), the “Rheinischer Kulturpreis” (1994), the “Musikpreis” of the city of Duisburg (2002), the “Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse der Bundesrepublik Deutschland” (2008) and the “Paul-Hindemith-Preis der Stadt Hanau” (2010).

Over the years Frank Peter Zimmermann has built up an impressive discography for EMI Classics, Sony Classical, BIS Records, hänssler CLASSIC, Ondine, Decca, Teldec Classics and ECM Records. He has recorded virtually all major concerto repertoire, ranging from Bach to Ligeti, as well as recital repertoire. Many of these recordings have received prestigious awards and prizes worldwide. Most recent releases include violin concertos of J.S. Bach with the Berliner Barock Solisten (hänssler CLASSIC); the two violin concertos of Shostakovich with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Alan Gilbert (BIS Records) – this recording was nominated for a Grammy 2018 -; and the 5 violin concertos and Sinfonia Concertante of Mozart with the Kammerorchester des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Antoine Tamestit (hänssler CLASSIC).

Born in 1965 in Duisburg, Germany, Mr. Zimmermann started playing the violin when he was 5 years old, giving his first concert with orchestra at the age of 10. He studied with Valery Gradov, Saschko Gawriloff and Herman Krebbers.

Mr. Zimmermann plays on the 1711 Antonio Stradivari violin “Lady Inchiquin”, which is kindly provided by the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, “Kunst im Landesbesitz”.

Martin Helmchen
has established himself as one of the prominent exceptional pianists of the younger generation. He performs with orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic as well as Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Wiener Symphoniker, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Orchestre de Paris. In Scandinavia he appears with Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

He enjoys collaborations with conductors such as David Afkham, Marc Albrecht, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph von Dohnányi, Edward Gardner, Valery Gergiev, Philippe Herreweghe, Manfred Honeck, Jakub Hrůša, Paavo Järvi, Vladimir Jurowski, Klaus Mäkelä, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Michael Sanderling, John Storgårds and David Zinman.

Highlights of this season include his return to the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Andris Nelsons, where he opens the season, followed by a guest performance with the orchestra at the Lucerne Festival. He also returns to the Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Luzern Sinfonieorchester and Chicago Symphony Orchestra and will make his debut with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. Helmchen further continues his collaborations with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, hr-Sinfonieorchester and Bielefelder Symphoniker, with whom he will perform all Bartók piano concertos throughout the upcoming two seasons.

Helmchen starts the new season with a Beethoven programme, which he and violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann will tour to renowned summer festivals in Germany. Following this, Helmchen will perform at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, and later this year, a series of recitals with cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker and violinist Antje Weithaas.

His quest for exploring all facets of music-making is born from his passion for chamber music, which regularly takes him to London’s Wigmore Hall and the Schubertiade. Helmchen‘s chamber music partners have included Veronika Eberle, Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Christian Tetzlaff, Antje Weithaas and Carolin Widmann. An accomplished Lied-accompanist, Martin Helmchen has worked together with Juliane Banse, Matthias Goerne and Julian Pregardien.

Martin Helmchen is an exclusive artist of Alpha Classics. In 2019 he released Messiaen’s “Vingt regards sur l’enfant- Jésus“. Further recordings include Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, chamber music by Schubert with Marie-Elisabeth Hecker and Antje Weithaas as well as a Brahms’ duo CD with Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. He previously recorded several discs with PentaTone Classics, including piano concertos by Mozart, Schumann, Mendelssohn as well as chamber music by Schubert, Schumann and Brahms.

Born in Berlin in 1982 and a former student of Galina Iwanzowa, Helmchen continued his studies with Arie Vardi at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover. His other mentors include William Grant Naboré and Alfred Brendel. A former BBC New Generations Artist, he won the “Concours Clara Haskil” in 2001, and in 2006 he was awarded the “Credit Suisse Young Artist Award”. Since 2010, Martin Helmchen has been an Associate Professor of chamber music at the Kronberg Academy.

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