The award includes a cash prize of 75,000 Swiss Francs (about $57,000) and the opportunity to perform with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Lucerne Festival in the summer of 2006.
Helmchen participated in auditions earlier this month at the Society of Friends of Music's Brahms Hall. The jury included Michael Haefliger, director of the Lucerne Festival, and Vienna Philharmonic percussionist Roland Altmann.
Born in 1982, Helmchen has studied at the Hanns Eisler Academy in Berlin and the Hanover Academy of Music. He has performed with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Bamberg Symphony and makes his debut with the NHK Orchestra this season. He has played chamber music with Gidon Kremer, Christian Tezlaff, and Lars Vogt.