Christoph Eschenbach signs on in Berlin

Christoph Eschenbach signs on in Berlin


norman lebrecht

June 20, 2018

The conductor, 78, signed his contract today as chief-in-waiting of the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, resident at the Konzerthaus on the Gendarmenmarkt. He succeeds Ivan Fischer in September 2019.






    let’s hope Fischer and Inbal return to guest conduct……

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Fischer and Inbal = (relatively) fast Mahler. Eschenbach = (relatively) slow Mahler and Bruckner. Should make for quite a contrast.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    Eschenbach…..a conductor who seemed to have great potential but never quite realized it. Except when he conducted the Chicago Symphony in the 90s at the Ravinia Festival. There we heard a dynamic, energetic, Solti-like Eschenbach that the rest of the world has only heard sporadically if at all. Too bad. (So yes, if you didn’t like Solti, Ravinia Eschenbach probably wouldn’t have been to your liking either.)

  • Kenneth Hart says:

    Berlin deserves better than Eschenbach. Berlin and it’s art and music scene is a vibrant cutting-edge place, not at all pretentious and mannered. With Eschenbach they get an old conductor, long past his prime, whose trademarks are mannered, micromanaged, fussy and pretentious conducting that rarely gets many people excited or enthralled.

    I hope for the best, but don’ t expect to hear amazing and exciting things coming out of this orchestra under Eschenbach. A very weird choice for an orchestra and a city that could attract so many more interesting conductors who would leave their mark and excite the regular public and attract a new audience at the same time. I hate to be negative, but I lived in Philadelphia between 2003 and 2006, while studying at Penn and witnessed and heard firsthand a magnificent orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, reduced to mediocrity and poor performance under this man. My roommate’s girlfriend was a musician in the Philadelphia Orchestra and I heard horrible things about Eschenbach on a regular basis, about disastrous ill-prepared rehearsals, poor soloist choices, an unclear conducting technique and a majority of PO musicians having animosity and no respect for Eschenbach as a conductor. Still, I regularly attended concerts and with the exception of one occasion, always left the concert unsatisfied and bored.

    • Lucas says:

      I will attend his concert there tomorrow and I really don´t know when Eschenbach conducted it for the last time. He is not a very regular guest there. Personally I think/feel (and I know how strange it sounds) someday Michael Sanderling will be their chief conductor. His Shostakovich 7 a few years ago was quite impressive. Obviously not only in my view – he will debute next spring with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducting the same piece. Bruckner 5 on the other hand… got better from evening to evening. But there is — something — with him and this orchestra, cannot describe exactly what it is.

    • Michael Comins says:

      Indeed – I remember a Mahler 3rd @ Carnegie Hall that nearly ground to a halt lacking pulse. My friends in the PO couldn’t wait for him to go.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I thought that the resident orchestra at the Konzerthaus was the Konzerthausorchester.

  • Andreas B. says:

    for 12 years now the orchestra has been called Kozerthausorchester Berlin –
    quite sensibly, to avoid being confused with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin.

  • Andrew Powell says:

    How awful. Such a misuse of a slot.

  • JR Hartley says:

    Anyone notice he looks like that chap Davros on Dr Who, he looks rather old.

  • msc says:

    Wikipedia says that the deal was announced in Nov. 2017, so I don’t see that the signing itself is a big deal. It does seem to be a less prestigious post than one would have expected even ten years ago for Eschenbach to get. I’m a bit surprised that he hasn’t chosen to focus on guest conducting, given his age.
    I knew about Flor (whom I greatly admire), and Schonwandt (also admirable), but I had completely forgotten about Sanderling.

  • Deborah Mawer says:

    Check out the new book by Charlie Harmon which Norman recently recommended
    “On the Road and Off the Record with Leonard Bernstein”

    There are some nasty digs at Eschy. Also some at Mehta and MTT.

    It’s a fantastic read ! Thanks to SD for recommending it

  • Edo says:

    A boring conductor leaves, a boring conductor comes…