Sven Helbig is a composer for choir, orchestra and chamber music. Electronic sounds often form part of his music. He combines classical composition techniques, with a deep knowledge of electronic sound synthesis and his skills on various musical instruments. On stage, Sven performs live-electronics and percussion alongside various classical ensembles.
Sven grew up in Eisenhüttenstadt, a small, planned city in Eastern Germany. This is where he discovered music from local brass bands, his parents’ vinyls and the few stations that he could pick up on his self-build radio. Electronic bricolage was his first passion and remained an element in his later music.
He started out learning clarinet and guitar, later moving on to drums. The self-taught composer’s acclaimed debut album Pocket Symphonies has been released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
The second album, released in 2017, presented his choir work I Eat The Sun And Drink The Rain. The ten pieces for chorus and electronics have been performed in more than 20 countries with Sven on Electronics. They feature Sven as a writer of all the lyrics. The work is also the first collaboration with Icelandic video artist Máni M. Sigfússon (SigurRos, ÓlafurArnalds, Kiasmos). The specially designed costumes are creations by acclaimed Berlin fashion designer Esther Perbandt. Until today, this program is continuing to explore new territories.
Becoming internationally recognized as a composer, Sven became Composer in Residence at some renowned festivals and institutions, including Enescu Festival Rumania, Moritzburg Festival Germany, BANFF center for art and creativity Canada. He also took commissions for several works. So he wrote his string quartet Tres Momentos, a cello concerto together with American composer Nico Muhly for cellist Jan Vogler and an Oratorio for German Nation at Theater Weimar.
Through the last years, Sven’s concerts inspired audiences at the Barbican Center London, Alexandrinsky Theatre St. Petersburg, Bolshoi Opera Minsk, Manchester Cathedral, Reina Sofia Madrid, Volksbühne Berlin, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg as well as the Radio Hall Mihail Jora Bucharest to name just a few.
Sven’s works have been staged by renowned artist like BBC Singers, Fauré Quartett, cellist Jan Vogler, the choir of the Bolshoi Opera and conductor Kristjan Järvi.
Beside his own activities, Sven is a longtime collaborator of Industrial-Metal band Rammstein and British Pop icons Pet Shop Boys. He orchestrated their ballet “The Most Incredible Thing”, premiered at Sadler’s Wells/ London, as well as “A Man from the Future”, premiered at Royal Albert Hall/ London as part of the Proms.
Sven is the co-founder of Dresdner Sinfoniker. Starting out in 1996, it was the first German orchestra devoted to just contemporary music.
Since 2017, Sven hosts his weekly radio show Schöne Töne on Berlin’s Radio 1, celebrating music history and contemporary artists.