After his diploma in mathematics in 1985, Helmut Eisel worked as a business consultant until 1993. During that time he started taking part in Giora Feidman’s masters classes. Together with ESPE and his own trio Helmut Eisel & JEM, he played concerts in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Georgia, and Israel. Engagements with the Nationaltheater Mannheim (“Ghetto”) and the Theater Basel (“Sunset”) forced him to decide between music and business. He decided to dedicate himself to music.
Besides his basic group, the trio Helmut Eisel & JEM, he founded several groups together with first class international musicians such as the “Helmut Eisel Clarinet Funtet”, Joscho Stephan Trio and Sebastian Voltz Trio. During the festivals, seminars and concerts of “Clarinet & the Klezmer in the Galilee” in Safed and Jerusalem (Israel) of which he has been part twelve times until today, Helmut Eisel founded the “Clarinet Gang”, an original group with musicians from Israel and Germany. Helmut Eisel’s composition Phoenix for two clarinets and string orchestra was premiered in Yad Vashem (Jerusalem) together with Giora Feidman and the Jerusalem Strings in the seminar’s final concert 2007.
1998 saw the birth of the duo “Eisel’s clarinet stories” and a solo program; the quintet Helmut Eisel & Band was founded in 2001. Concerts and CD projects together with the pianists Marina Baranova and Sebastian Voltz (including a Sinatra-project with the Sebastian Voltz Trio) actually stand for Helmut Eisel’s creative encounter of classic, jazz and klezmer which is gaining a growing part in his artistic interest. Another increasingly successful project is the program “Gypsy meets the Klezmer” together with the Gypsy Swing guitarist Joscho Stephan and his trio. The communication and bridging between styles and genres as well as to his co-musicians and the audience is also the central idea of Helmut Eisel’s symphonic programs and compositions such as the “Naftule”-family concerts, his own, very personal adaption of the famous Mozart clarinet concerto (CD “time change” 2011) and the Rhapsody for an Unknown Klezmer (2011). The revised version of the „Rhapsody for an Unknown Klezmer“ as well as a personal adaption of Max Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei” and several orchestra arrangements of Helmut Eisel’s own band titels have just been recorded in february 2016 together with the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen under conductor Daniel Huppert and will be available on CD soon(animato).
Carrying out the philosophy of his “Talking Clarinet” Helmut Eisel has also been part of various drama productions such as Jedermann (Bad Gandersheim, 2008), Iskender (Essen, RUHR.2010 festival) and Wie im Himmel (Bad Gandersheim, 2010/11) under the direction of Johannes Klaus.
Since 1993, Helmut Eisel has regularly lead workshops for Klezmer Improvisation (“Talking Klezmer”) and contributed in the fields of improvisation, communication and corporate culture in countries such as Germany, Austria, Poland, Norway and Israel.
„Israeli Suite – Neue Klezmermusik der Seele“ (westpark publishing)
„Durch Klezmermusik zur Improvisation“ (music book with playalong-CD)
„Talking Clarinet – Einführung in die Klezmer-Improvisation“ (music book with playalong-CD, Advance Music, 2014)
Mozart/Eisel: „Blue Adagio“, 2. Satz aus Mozarts Klarinettenkonzert, Bearbeitung (advance music, 2015)
Mozart/Eisel: “Bowling with Mozart” (advance music, 2015)
1991 CD „Forget The Tears“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (pläne/ARIS).
1993 CD „The Spirit of Klezmer“ mit Asoj (Koch international)
1994 CD „Klezm’n Soul“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (westpark/INDIGO)
1996 CD „Israeli Suite“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (westpark/INDIGO)
1997 CD „Funtasie“ with Helmut Eisel Clarinet Funtett (westpark, INDIGO)
1998 CD „Passions for Klezmer“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (westpark/INDIGO)
1999 CD „Clarinet Stories“ Helmut Eisel & Friends (westpark, INDIGO)
2000 CD „Broken Silence“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (westpark/INDIGO)
2001 CD „Eisel bläst Brandwein“ with Eisel, Ebersbach & Freunden
2002 Composition and CD of the film music „Zwischen Himmel und Erde“ (Karl Heinz Heilig)
2003 CD „Hot Klezmer Clarinet“, Helmut Eisel & Band
2004 CD „Midnight Dreamer“, Helmut Eisel & JEM
2005 CD „Naftule und der König“ with Helmut Eisel & JEM u. RSO Saarbrücken, conductor; Marcus R. Bosch)
2006 CD „Klezmer at the Cotton Club“, Helmut Eisel & Band (westpark)
2007 CD „Impromptu“, Marina Baranova and Helmut Eisel (Neuklang)
2008 Part of the Giora Feidman-CD „The Spirit of Klezmer“ (pläne)
2009 CD „Clarinet Colours“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (Neuklang)
2011 CD „time change“ (Mozart Clarinet Concerto e.a.) Helmut Eisel & JEM, Thüringisches Kammerorchester Weimar, Conductor: Martin Hoff (Animato)
2012 CD „Gypsy meets the Klezmer“, Joscho Stephan/Helmut Eisel Quartett (MGL)
2013 CD „Klezmer in the Air“, Helmut Eisel & JEM (pianissimo)
2014 CD „Talking Sinatra“, Helmut Eisel & Sebastian Voltz Trio (Neuklang)
2015 LP Helmut Eisel & Sebastian Voltz Trio, Live-Production of the studio concert at Bauer Studios Ludwigsburg (Neuklang)
In preparation for 2016 CD „Rhapsody for an Unkonwn Klezmer“, Helmut Eisel (clarinet), Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen and children’s choirs of the region, conductor: Daniel Huppert (Neuklang)
March 27th, 2016