Helmut Hödl studied at the music academies of Vienna and Graz with Gerhard Schönfeldinger, Peter Schmidl and Ernst Ottensamer. He also attended master-classes given by Alfred Prinz and Alois Brandhofer. He won study scholarships from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Yamaha Foundation of Europe.
He has made guest appearances with the Bachkollegium of Stuttgart, the Woodwind Ensemble of the Salzburg Mozart week, Ensemble des 20. Jahrhundert, Klangforum Wien, the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras. In 1993 he was appointed principal clarinettist of the Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper and has been teaching at the Josef Haydn Conservatory in Eisenstadt since 1998. He was a founder-member of trio clarin and quintett wien as well as founder of vienna clarinet connection.