John Storgårds conducts Saariaho, Mozart and Sibelius featuring pianist Martin Helmchen

John Storgårds conducts Saariaho, Mozart and Sibelius featuring pianist Martin Helmchen
Event on 2019-01-26 20:00:00
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Chief Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra Ottawa and Artistic Partner of the Münchener Kammerorchester, John Storgårds has a dual career as a conductor and violin virtuoso and is widely recognised for his creative flair for programming. He additionally holds the title of Artistic Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland.

Storgårds appears with such orchestras as WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Bamberger Symphoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as all the major Nordic orchestras including Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra where he was Chief Conductor 2008-2015. Further afield, he appears with the Sydney, Melbourne and NHK Symphonies as well as the Boston, St Louis, Toronto and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Soloists with whom he collaborates include Yefim Bronfman, Sol Gabetta, Håkan Hardenberger, Kari Kriikku, Gil Shaham, Baiba Skride, Christian Tetzlaff, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Frank Peter Zimmermann.

Storgårds's vast repertoire includes all symphonies by Sibelius, Nielsen, Bruckner, Brahms, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. He gave a historical cycle of all 54 symphonies by Mozart (including the unnumbered works) and conducted Finnish premieres of Schumann's only opera 'Genoveva', his early 'Zwickau' symphony, plus world premieres of Sibelius' Suite op. 117 for violin and strings and the Late Fragments. As a violinist, Storgårds gave the Finnish premiere of Schumann's own violin version of the cello concerto and his Violin Sonata No 3. Storgårds regularly performs world premieres of works by contemporary composers such as Kaija Saariaho, Brett Dean, Per Nørgård and P?teris Vasks. Many of these composers have dedicated their works to him. In opera he conducted the Finnish premiere of Haydn's Orlando Paladino at the Finnish National Opera, a production which remains one of the most successful in Finland. He conducted major titles by Strauss, Verdi and most Mozart operas. Recently he led a new production by Paul-Emile Fourny of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Savonlinna Opera Festival.

Highlights of his 2017/18 season include Storgårds' return to the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. He will give debut appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien at Vienna's prestigious Musikverein and with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall. Following their recent touring success, Storgårds is taking the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland on tour to Ottawa. In opera Storgårds will give the world premiere of Sebastian Fagerlund's new opera Höstsonaten – Autumn Sonata at the Finnish National Opera with Anne Sofie von Otter in the leading role of Charlotte.

Storgårds' award winning discography includes recordings of works by Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn but also rarities by Holmboe and Vasks' featuring him as soloist. Two cycles of symphonies by Sibelius (2014) and Nielsen (2015) with the BBC Philharmonic were released to critical acclaim by Chandos. Their latest recording, released earlier this year, includes works by American avant-garde composer George Antheil. Other successes include discs of works by Nørgård, Korngold and Rautavaara, the latter receiving a Grammy nomination and a Gramophone Award in 2012. Storgårds's recording with the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland of concertos for theremin and horn by Kalevi Aho received the distinguished ECHO Klassik award in 2015.

Storgårds studied violin with Chaim Taub and subsequently became concert master of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, before studying conducting with Jorma Panula and Eri Klas. He received the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2002 and the Pro Finlandia Prize 2012. 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.

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