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Christoph Eschenbach


About this Artist

CHRISTOPH ESCHENBACH, Music Director of both the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, is in great demand by the finest orchestras and opera houses around the world.

Now in his seventh and final season with the NSO and Kennedy Center, he has, during his tenure thus far, taken the NSO on three international tours: through South and North America in 2012, to Europe and Oman in 2013, and to Europe in 2016, earning great acclaim. He and the NSO have also performed together at Carnegie Hall. In 2016/2017 Eschenbach and the orchestra perform in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, at the invitation of Olga Rostropovich, as part of the 2017 Rostropovich Festival, celebrating what would have been Mstislav Rostropovich’s 90th birthday. In addition, his season with the NSO includes the East Coast premiere of an NSO co-commissioned work Concerto in D (for Violin and Orchestra) by Wynton Marsalis and the conclusion of Mahler Explored.

Highlights of Eschenbach’s other engagements this season include leading a new production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, guest conducting at the Orchestre de Paris, National Spanish Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Nederland Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra National de France, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, and the Vienna Philharmonic for the worldwide televised Summer Night Concert in Schönbrunn palace.

In addition to his eight subscription weeks with the NSO, Eschenbach can be heard around the U.S. this season, leading concerts with the Houston Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and on a 10-concert American tour with the historic German orchestra Bamberger Symphoniker, of which Maestro Eschenbach is Honorary Conductor. He will also return to the Ravinia Festival this summer.

A prolific recording artist over five decades, Christoph Eschenbach has an impressive discography as both a conductor and a pianist on a number of prominent labels. With the NSO he recorded, on the Ondine label, Remembering JFK. Eschenbach’s discography includes recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra (Ondine), the Orchestre de Paris (Ondine and Deutsche Grammophon), London Philharmonic (EMI/LPO Live), London Symphony (DG/BMG), Vienna Philharmonic (Decca), NDR Sinfonieorchester (BMG/Sony and Warner), and Houston Symphony (Koch), among others, and many performances as pianist. His recordings have received critical acclaim and prestigious honors, including the 2014 Grammy for Best Classical Compendium, BBC Music Magazine’s Disc of the Month, Gramophone’s Editors’ Choice, and the German Record Critics’ Award. His Ondine recording of the music of Kaija Saariaho with the Orchestre de Paris and soprano Karita Mattila won the 2009 MIDEM Classical Award in Contemporary Music. Of particular note is his recording and filming of the full cycle of Mahler symphonies with the Orchestre de Paris, available on his website for free on-demand streaming.

Mentored by George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, Christoph Eschenbach has enjoyed a career which has included music directorships of the Orchestre de Paris (2000-2010), Philadelphia Orchestra (2003-2008), Ravinia Festival (1994-2003), NDR Sinfonieorchester (1998-2004), and Houston Symphony (1988-1999). He has also served as artistic director of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (1999-2002) and as chief conductor and artistic director of the Tonhalle Orchestra (1982-1986). His many honors include the 2015 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, Légion d’Honneur; Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; Officer’s Cross with Star and Ribbon of the German Order of Merit; and the Commander’s Cross of the German Order of Merit for outstanding achievements. He also received the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival, where he was co-artistic director (1992–1998).

Eschenbach frequently mentors gifted young performers, and works regularly with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. In Washington, he offers rehearsal opportunities to the students of the NSO’s Youth Fellowship Program, side-by-side with the orchestra.