Meet The Performers


Christoph Eschenbach

In demand as a distinguished guest conductor with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world, Christoph Eschenbach began his tenure in September 2010 as Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra as well as Music Director of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Since his appointment to these positions in 2008, he has played a key role in planning future seasons, international festivals and special projects for these two prestigious institutions.  In 2011-12, in addition to conducting the National Symphony in its home at the Kennedy Center, Mr. Eschenbach led the orchestra on tour of South America. In 2012-13, he will lead the orchestra overseas again on a tour of Europe and Oman. 

Mr. Eschenbach’s conducting activities in 2012-13 include performances in Europe with the NDR Symphony Orchestra, where he was Music Director from 1998 to 2004; Munich Philharmonic; Orchestre de Paris, the ensemble he led as music director between 2000 and 2010; a tour of Germany with the London Philharmonic; concerts in Israel with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; and a tour of Australia and Europe leading the Australian Youth Orchestra. He will also return to the Vienna State Opera to conduct performances of Richard Strauss’s Cappricio. In the United States, in addition to leading the National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center and at Carnegie Hall, Mr. Eschenbach will return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic,  Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony.

In 2011-12, Mr. Eschenbach toured Australia and the Far East with the Vienna Philharmonic, as well as conducting the orchestra in Vienna. Other highlights of the season included performances with the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China in Beijing; the London Philharmonic at Royal Festival Hall, and on tour  in Oman and in Spain; the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he served as Music Director from 2003 to 2008, NDR Symphony Orchestra; the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; the Boston Symphony Orchestra, including the orchestra’s concert at Carnegie Hall; the Orchestre de Paris; the Filarmonia della Scala; the Czech Philarmonic; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and the Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk; to name just a few.  In the summer of 2012, Mr. Eschenbach conducted at the Tanglewood Festival and the Ravinia Festival. He has served as Principal Conductor of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival International Orchestral Academy since 2004, and appears regularly in Germany and on tour with the SHMF Orchestra.

Highlights of 2010-11 included an engagement at the Paris Opera conducting Hindemith’s Mathis der Mahler; a tour of Europe with the Staatskapelle Dresden; two weeks with the Orchestre de Paris; performances of Messiaen’s Tunangalîla Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra as part of the Kennedy Center’s India Festival; and concerts with the Munich Philharmonic,  NDR Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Curtis Symphony Orchestra.  

As a pianist, he continues his fruitful collaboration with baritone Matthias Goerne. The duo has recorded Schubert's three song cycles—“Die Schöne Müllerin,” “Die Winterreise” and “Schwanengesang”—for the Harmonia Mundi label, the first installment of which was released in May 2009 to critical acclaim.  In the summer of 2010, they performed the complete cycle in three recitals (and Mr. Eschenbach played Schubert monumental Sonata in B-flat major D. 960) at the Salzburg Music Festival, where Mr. Eschenbach also conducted two concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic. In the 2011-12 season, the duo is also performed the complete cycle in three recitals in Paris at the Salle Pleye and will perform the cycle in 2012-13 at the Musikverein in Vienna.

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. His recordings include works ranging from J.S. Bach to music of our time and reflect his commitment to not just canonical works but the music of the late-20th and early-21st-century as well.  Mr. Eschenbach's discography includes recordings with the Orchestre de Paris, on the Ondine and Deutsche Gramophone labels and with the London Symphony (Sony/BMG), the Vienna Philharmonic (Decca), the Hamburg NDR Symphony (BMG/Sony & Warner) and the Houston Symphony (Koch), among many others. In 2012-13, he is scheduled to record with the Vienna Philharmonic and soloist Lang-Lang.  Over the past five years, Ondine has released sixteen critically acclaimed recordings featuring Mr. Eschenbach with the Orchestre de Paris and the Philadelphia Orchestra, a number of which have received prestigious honors including BBC Magazine “Disc of the Month,” Gramophone “Editors Choice” and the German Record Critics’ Award, among others. His recent 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.

Mentored by George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, Mr. Eschenbach held the posts of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tonhalle Orchestra from 1982 to 1986; Music Director of the Houston Symphony from 1988 to 1999; Music Director of the Ravinia Festival from 1994 to 2003; and Artistic Director of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival from 1999 to 2002. His many honors include the Légion d’Honneur; Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; the 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 as pianist and conductor. He also received the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival, where he was co-artistic director from 1992 to 1998.


Additional information about Mr. Eschenbach can be found at his website,

Please note: Biographies on the CSO website are based on the information that was most recently provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on the artists' own websites or those of their representatives.