Sicklist: Eschenbach is out for months with tendonitis

February 10, 2018 by norman lebrecht


A June chamber concert in Washington featuring Christoph Eschenbach as pianist with members of the National Symphony Orchestra has been cancelled four months in advance.

Eschenbach is suffering from tendonitis, which requires complete rest of the affected limb for a long period.

The condition does not affect his conducting activities, which continue.

Comments (17)

  1. José says:

    Well, he can’t play the piano, but can he conduct? That’s the point. I’ve bought tickets to a NYPhil concert with Haitink, but Haitink pulled out and they selected Eschenbach, to my disgrace. Now I’m hoping they change the conductor again.

    1. Zahl says:

      I had tickets to see Haitink too (replacing Mehta) with the Berlin Phil and, when he canceled, they hired Adam Fischer. Was the most uninspired conducting I saw/heard in years – since one Kitajenko concert in Leipzig. It was very sad. I hope Haitink is healthy again soon

      1. Sweedmusic says:

        A professional critic wrote a raving review of the Fischer concert with the Berlin Phil:
        Shows how two people can attend the same performance and get a totally different experience.

      2. Alasdair Munro says:

        I was there too,as part of a long planned visit, and was initially very annoyed that they had changed the symphony as well, but I loved what I heard, and the audience clearly loved it as well.
        I believe they are quite discerning in Berlin.

    2. Olassus says:

      They likely will. José, to *their* disgrace. (To your displeasure, annoyance, etc.)

    3. Bruce says:

      Depends on where the tendonitis is. If it’s in the finger flexors/ extensors, then conducting would probably be OK. If it’s in the shoulders, then conducting would probably not be OK.

  2. Zoltan says:

    Cancelling a concert four months in advance clearly indicates a serious health issue, with little hope of improvement beforehand.

    I would guess that the National Symphony Orchestra won’t be crying too much over this cancellation, especially after the terrible experience they had with Eschenbach when he was Music Director of the NSO.

    Eschenbach is a truly sad case and nearly every article about him, here and elsewhere, is usually negative and depressing. I don’t know what he did to deserve all this, but he clearly is not popular, yet I’ve been told that he continues to maintain appearances.

    1. Herr Doktor says:

      I don’t know that he’s not popular. As a conductor, he’s just not that good, in my experience. Mannered, willful interpretations that usually are annoying rather than engaging. He tends to impose himself on the music, to diminished results.

      1. Gravy says:

        Oh, rubbish. He did a Bruckner 6 with New York that was much better than the one Muti did with the same group years earlier. In fact, it was the best I’ve ever heard of the piece.

    2. Bruce says:

      “Popular with musicians and congnoscenti” and “popular with the general public” are not the same thing, and do not have the same criteria. (We all have our own favorite examples of conductors/ singers/ instrumentalists who don’t “deserve” the big careers they have.)

    3. James says:

      Rubbish. Eschenbach is first rate.
      The problem is, I suspect, that it is he who has the career and not you.
      He has made a most successful one through great talent, adaptablity, perseverance and a long life, hard cheese indeed for those who can’t control their envy and malice.
      A reasonable person should be master of his aversions, not their slave.
      May Eschenbach soon regain his health.

  3. Ben says:

    Tough. He just did a good program with Philadelphia. Hope he’s feeling better soon.

  4. David A. Boxwell says:

    It should be remembered that he will be 78 years old next week. Most men that age can barely get out of the house and walk to the mail box.

    1. Sue says:

      The nursing homes are filled with people younger than 70, but don’t let that stereotype older people. In our music group we have a 97y/o who can speak without notes on music and music history for nearly an hour. In fact, he’s scheduled again to present a program on Bach on 15th March.

  5. Anonanon says:

    Eschenbach is a musicians musician! That’s what the hoi polloi don’t understand!

  6. Glerb says:

    Normally spelled “tendinitis”. Either way, it’s a miserable condition and I wish him a safe recovery.

  7. David Fain says:

    I hear only his performances at the piano, all his conducting continues which means London Phil tour this week in Germany, Chicago Symphony in a couple weeks. Seems rather healthy…

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