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
Sommernachtskonzert 2014 / Lang Lang, Eschenbach, Vienna
Release Date: 08/12/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307098   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach, Brahms - Schoenberg Orchestrations / Eschenbach, Houston Symphony
Release Date: 03/11/1997   Label: Rca Victor Red Seal  
Catalog: 68658   Number of Discs: 1
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Sommernachtskonzert  2014 / Lang Lang, Eschenbach, Vienna Philharmonic
Release Date: 08/12/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307097   Number of Discs: 1
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Sommernachtskonzert 2014 / Lang Lang, Eschenbach, Vienna [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 08/12/2014   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 307099   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 80 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
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  • 2.
    Sommernachtskonzert 2014 / Lang Lang, Eschenbach, Vienna
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 307098 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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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    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
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  • 6.
    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
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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    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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  • 9.
    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  ... 
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  • 10.
    The Very Best Of Lang Lang
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1006752 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach,  Zubin Mehta,  Valery Gergiev,  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 11.
    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
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  • 12.
    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  ... 
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Remembering JFK - 50th Anniversay Concert
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1190-2 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Peter Lieberson,  George Gershwin,  John Stafford Smith  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Dreyfuss,  Tzimon Barto,  Earl Wild
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach,  Howard Mitchell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
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  • 16.
    Springtime In The Park
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 96834 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Edvard Grieg,  Gabriel Fauré,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Philippe Collard,  Bruno Rigutto,  Gautier Capuçon,  Gérard Caussé  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Martinon,  Felix Slatkin,  Paavo Berglund,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sabine Meyer Wind Ensemble
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  • 17.
    Bruckner: Symphony No 6 / Eschenbach, London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 49 Release Date: 11/16/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Thomas Zehetmair: The Teldec Recordings
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 81031 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Michael Haydn,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Zehetmair,  Tabea Zimmermann,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Clemens Hagen  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Zehetmair,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Christoph von Dohnányi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  German Chamber Philharmonic  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 19.
    The Best Of Lang Lang
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001466002 Release Date: 08/24/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    Pascal Dusapin: Concerto[s]
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 782181 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pascal Dusapin
    Performer:  Ian Pace,  Sonia Wieder-Atherton,  Juliette Hurel,  Alain Trudel
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach,  Pascal Rophé
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris,  Montpellier National Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Saint-Saens, Gershwin: Piano Concertos / Richter, Eschenbach
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93707 Release Date: 05/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 1; Ruckert Lieder / Eschenbach, Schafer, Deutsches Symphonie Berlin
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5026 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Christine Schäfer
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
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  • 23.
    Tchaikovsky: Romeo And Juliet, Serenade; Ewald: Quintets / Eschenbach, Philadelphia O
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1150-2 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Victor Ewald,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra Brass Section,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $34.99
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  • 24.
    Pintscher: Herodiade Fragmente, Sur Depart, Music Aus Thomas Chatterton / Eschenbach
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 4684000 Release Date: 03/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Matthias Pintscher
    Performer:  Dietrich Henschel,  Claudia Barainsky
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra Hamburg,  North German Radio Chorus Hamburg
    CD: $8.99
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  • 25.
    Schumann: Introduction & Allegro Appassionato / Barto, Eschenbach
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1162-2 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto,  Christoph Eschenbach
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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