Christoph Eschenbach

Biography

Born: February 20, 1940  
Christoph Eschenbach overcame the most difficult of circumstances to become one of the finest pianists and conductors of the late twentieth century. He was orphaned at a young age: his mother died in childbirth and his father, the musicologist Heribert Ringmann, was killed in battle during World War II. His adoptive grandmother was then killed while trying to extract him and herself from the path of the Allied armies. Fortunately for the young Read more boy, his mother's cousin, Wallydore Eschenbach, tracked him down after the war and adopted him from the refugee camp that would likely have claimed his life. It is from her side of the family that he eventually took his better-known surname.

Eschenbach began studying piano at the age of eight, taught by his adoptive mother. She quickly realized his talents and enrolled him in the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik, where he studied both piano and conducting. As a boy he won First Prize in the 1952 Steinway Piano Competition, and in 1962 he took second prize in the Munich International competition; however, it was with his first prize at the Clara Haskil Competition in Montreux, France, in 1965, that he finally made his mark. This new notoriety led to a London concert debut in 1966, and a prestigious debut with the Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell in 1969. Szell was impressed with his musicianship and gave him lessons in conducting, starting a close relationship that lasted until Szell's death in 1970.

Eschenbach was soon essaying a wide repertory in concert tours throughout Europe and America. Notable in his programs were a large number of works from twentieth century composers, such as Bartók, Henze, Rihm, Reimann, Blacher, and Ruzicka; however, his performances of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert were considered revelatory.

Eschenbach made his conducting debut in 1972 with a performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 3, soon followed by Verdi's La Traviata at Darmstadt in 1978. In 1979 he was named general music director of the Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic (through 1981). He was permanent guest conductor, then chief conductor of the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra (1971-1985).

In 1988 he began his most significant and productive association to date as music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until 1999. Although the orchestra was already established as one of America's finer major symphonies, Eschenbach improved its standards, heightened its international reputation, and broadened its repertory. He also formed the Houston Symphony Chamber Players from its ranks. Eschenbach conducted the Houston Symphony in recordings on the Koch International, Virgin, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, and Carlton labels. These included standard fare such as some highly regarded Brahms and Tchaikovsky recordings and all of the major Mozart wind concertos (with the orchestra's own soloists). He and the Houston Symphony also recorded Kurt Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny suite, Tobias Picker's Les Encantadoras, and the violin concertos of John Adams and Philip Glass.

From 1991 to 1998 he was co-artistic director of the Pacific Music Festival, along with Michael Tilson Thomas. In 1994 Eschenbach was appointed music director of the Ravinia Festival, the summer outdoor season of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In the 1998-1999 season he became music director of the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Hamburg, and, concurrently, artistic director of its Schleswig-Holstein Festival. In 2003, he became music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Read less
Strauss: Capriccio / Eschenbach, Fleming, Skovhus, Schade, Weiner Staatsoper
Release Date: 05/27/2014   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 715908   Number of Discs: 2
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Strauss: Capriccio / Eschenbach, Fleming, Skovhus, Schade, Weiner Staatsoper [blu-ray]
Release Date: 05/27/2014   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 716004   Number of Discs: 2
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Mozart: Don Giovanni / Eschenbach, D’arcangelo,  Fritsch, Ruiten, Pisaroni, Arduini
Release Date: 06/30/2015   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2072738   Number of Discs: 2
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Mozart: Don Giovanni / Eschenbach, D’arcangelo, Fritsch, Ruiten, Pisaroni [blu-ray]
Release Date: 06/30/2015   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2072734   Number of Discs: 1
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Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Eschenbach, Hartelius, Pisaroni, Chappuis [blu-ray]
Release Date: 07/31/2015   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2072744   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 84 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Reimann: Spiralat Halom, Eingedunkelt & 9 Stucke / Severloh, Eschenbach, NDR Sinfonieorchester
    Label: Wergo   Catalog: 73372 Release Date: 09/30/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aribert Reimann
    Performer:  Tim Severloh
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 2.
    Pinchas Zukerman: Complete Recordings on DG, Decca, & Philips
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002514302 Release Date: 07/22/2016   Number of Discs: 22
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Midori,  Daniel Barenboim,  Marc Neikrug  ... 
    Conductor:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Charles Dutoit,  Pierre Boulez  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 3.
    The Art of Midori
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 518340 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Midori,  Robert McDonald,  Nobuko Imai,  Christoph Eschenbach
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Claudio Abbado,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Bamberg Symphony: The First 70 Years
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002474902 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff,  Carl Seemann,  Pilar Lorengar,  Gottlob Frick  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth,  Fritz Lehmann,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Krauss  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $52.99
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  • 5.
    The Vienna Album / Lang Lang
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002408902 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Lang Lang
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
    CD: $14.99
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  • 6.
    Hindemith: Symphonie
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1275 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Eschenbach, Hartelius, Pisaroni, Chappuis [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2072744 Release Date: 07/31/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Martin Mitterrutzner,  Luca Pisaroni,  Marie-Claude Chappuis,  Malin Hartelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 8.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Eschenbach, D’arcangelo,  Fritsch, Ruiten, Pisaroni, Arduini
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2072738 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Luca Pisaroni,  Tomasz Konieczny,  Ildebrando D'Arcangelo,  Andrew Staples  ... 
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Chorus
    On sale! $34.99
    DVD: $31.99
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  • 9.
    Mozart: Don Giovanni / Eschenbach, D’arcangelo, Fritsch, Ruiten, Pisaroni [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2072734 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Anett Fritsch,  Lenneke Ruiten,  Andrew Staples,  Ildebrando D'Arcangelo  ... 
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Chorus
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 10.
    Sviatoslav Richter: The Complete Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301470 Release Date: 04/14/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Robert La Marchina,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Christoph Eschenbach
    On sale!
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  • 11.
    Messiaen: Des Canyons aux Etoiles / Eschenbach, London Philharmonic
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 83 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Olivier Messiaen
    Performer:  Erika Öhman,  Andrew Barclay,  Tzimon Barto,  John Ryan
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    CD: $19.99
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  • 12.
    Brahms: The Piano Concertos
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5210 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    CD: $17.99
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  • 13.
    Bach, Brahms - Schoenberg Orchestrations / Eschenbach, Houston Symphony
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68658 Release Date: 08/21/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Houston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Sommernachtskonzert  2014 / Lang Lang, Eschenbach, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 307097 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Franz Liszt,  Richard Strauss,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Lang Lang
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 15.
    Sommernachtskonzert 2014 / Lang Lang, Eschenbach, Vienna [Blu-ray]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 307099 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Franz Liszt,  Richard Strauss,  Johann Strauss Jr.
    Performer:  Lang Lang
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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    Blu-ray Video: $16.99
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  • 16.
    Strauss: Capriccio / Eschenbach, Fleming, Skovhus, Schade, Weiner Staatsoper
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 715908 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Michael Schade,  Bo Skovhus,  Renée Fleming,  Markus Eiche  ... 
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 17.
    Strauss: Capriccio / Eschenbach, Fleming, Skovhus, Schade, Weiner Staatsoper [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 716004 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Markus Eiche,  Renée Fleming,  Bo Skovhus,  Michael Schade  ... 
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $42.98
    Blu-ray Video: $31.99
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  • 18.
    Liszt: Paganini Variations; Rachmaninov: Paganini Rhapsody / Tzimon Barto
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1230 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 19.
    Mozart: Violin Concertos, Sonata / Ray Chen, Christoph Eschenbach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88765447752 Release Date: 02/04/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ray Chen,  Christoph Eschenbach
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    Hindemith:  Violin Concerto; Symphonic Metamorphosis; Konzertmusik /  Midori, Eschenbach
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1214-2 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Hindemith
    Performer:  Midori
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Lang Lang - Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001697972 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang,  Guo-Ren Lang,  Wu Yuxia,  Chen Shasha  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Valery Gergiev,  Long Yu,  Christoph Eschenbach  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra,  Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $119.98
    CD: $114.49
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  • 22.
    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis / Eschenbach, London Philharmonic
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 61 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Anne Schwanewilms,  Nikolai Schukoff,  Annette Jahns,  Dietrich Henschel
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    Saariaho: Works for Orchestra
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1113 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Kaija Saariaho
    Performer:  John Storgĺrds,  Anu Komsi,  Jouko Laivuori,  Petteri Salomaa  ... 
    Conductor:  Hannu Lintu,  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Jukka-Pekka Saraste,  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Avanti Chamber Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 24.
    Music & Painters - Music Of The Era Of Monet, Chagall, Courbet & Picasso
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5283 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Ernest Chausson  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Gastinel,  Daniel Blumenthal,  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Noel Lee  ... 
    Conductor:  Dmitry Yablonsky,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Alain Lombard,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kasbek Ensemble,  Russian State Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 25.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1, Rococo Variations / Eschenbach, Barto, Maslennikov
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5065 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Dmitri Maslennikov,  Tzimon Barto
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
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