Dennis HelmrichProfessor and Chair of Accompanying
BM cum laude and MM with honors, Yale University; doctoral studies at Boston University
A native of Newark, New Jersey, Dennis Helmrich began his piano studies at the age of five, and both he and his twin brother sang in the famous boy choir of St. Thomasí Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City. As a boy he studied solfege with Max Goberman, piano with Eugene Hellmer, and flute with George Opperman and Gerald Rudy. During his years at Yale, Helmrich received prizes from the Lacewood and Ditson foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, having studied piano with Donald Currier.
At the age of twenty-four he joined the musical faculty of Antioch College, and subsequently served on the faculties of the State University of New York campuses at Albany and Purchase, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School, and New York University. Invited to the Tanglewood Festival in 1969 to aid in the musical preparation of Bergís Wozzeck under Erich Leinsdorf and Michael Tilson Thomas, in the following year Helmrich was appointed Vocal Music Coach at the Tanglewood Music Center, a position he has held ever since.
Almost from the outset of his career Helmrich has concentrated on chamber music and the art song literature. It is a sonata partner and accompanist that he now makes most of his concert appearances in a schedule that has taken him in recent years to thirty states, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and to stages such as Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, and Carnegie Halls in New York, Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco Symphony Hall in Boston, and Severance Hall in Cleveland. He has performed with such artists such as John Aler, Kathleen Battle, Richard Stilwell, Mary Ann Hart, Eugenia Zukerman, Claire Bloom, Carol Wincenc, Gary Shocker, Roberta Peters, Petra Lang, Roberta Alexander, and the late, legendary Charles Holland.
Helmrich has appeared frequently at the Tanglewood, Bard, Yachats, and Caramoor Festivals. A continuing interest in contemporary music has led Helmrich to give first performances of many American compositions. For four years he was co-director of Hear America First, a New York concert series devoted to the performance of American music. He has recorded chamber music and songs on the Orion, Spectrum, Nonesuch, Chesky, Musical Heritage, Albany, Newport Classic, Delos, and Samsung label. His publications include translations of opera libretti and song texts, and he has created supertitles for numerous operatic productions.