Born in Breslau, Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland), Christoph Eschenbach studied piano with Professor Eliza Hansen and won in his young age numerous piano competitions. Successful conducting studies passed in Hamburg and the influence of Szell and Karajan, the two mentors, naturally led him to initiate his carrier as a conductor. He began in 1972, and made his debut in the USA in 1975 with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
Nowadays Christoph Eschenbach is in demand as a distinguished guest conductor with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world. His grand classic repertoire is ranging from J. S. Bach to music of our time and reflects his commitment to not just canonical works but also to the music of the late 20th and early 21st century.
Christoph Eschenbach has been the Music Director of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra (1982–1986), of the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1988–1999) and of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg (1998–2004). After ten years as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris (2000–2010), and four years for the Philadelphia Orchestra (2003–2008), he became in September 2010 Music Director of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as well as the Washington National Symphony. To his important discography as a pianist should be added numerous recordings at the head of the Houston Symphony, the NDR Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Christoph Eschenbach had the honor to be named Chevalier of the French Légion d’Honneur, Officer of the National Order of Merit and decorated with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He has been made French Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and has received the Leonard Bernstein Award of the Pacific Music Festival. In 2015 he received the Ernst von Siemens Music Award.