Happy Birthday, Christoph Eschenbach!
February 20 marks the 83rd birthday of the German pianist and conductor
February 20 marks the 83rd birthday of the German pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach.
Born in Breslau, Germany (which is now part of Poland) in 1940, Christoph Eschenbach was orphaned by the Second World War and consequently raised by his mother's second cousin. She was the pianist Wallydore Eschenbach, and it was she who gave him his earliest lessons.
He later studied piano with Eliza Hansen and conducting with Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg. Professionally, his career began with the piano — he won first prize at the ARD Competition and the Concours Clara Haskil — but conducting soon began to play a central role in his work.
Having received mentoring from conductors as illustrious as George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, Eschenbach's first major position was as Principal Conductor at the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich. Additionaly music directorships he has held include those at the Houston Symphony, the NDR Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris.
Eschenbach has received a range of honors for his work, including France's Légion d’Honneur and the German Federal Cross of Merit.