Eschenbach and National Symphony look toward fresh start together

Posted on: September 29, 2010

In Sunday’s (9/26) Washington Post, Anne Midgette comments on a recent rehearsal at Ravinia, where Christoph Eschenbach was leading the Chicago Symphony and Renée Fleming in Strauss’s Four Last Songs. “It’s only a rehearsal of a piece everyone onstage knows well. But Eschenbach won’t let it feel routine. … It’s an attitude that has helped him build a star reputation in the conducting world … Now, as he prepares to take the helm of Washington’s struggling and only nominally ‘national’ orchestra, the question is whether he can make the NSO, and its audience, believe in him. … Conductors are supposed to be big, loud, authoritarian. Eschenbach is not. In a field that tends to attract people of healthy egos and dominant personalities, he projects a stillness. He waits. He speaks quietly. At 70, he is less a grand old man than elfin. … The NSO offers the conductor a new beginning. It could use some of the orchestra-building Eschenbach did in Houston. … His intense and personal touch may hearken back to Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist-conductor of great personal warmth, if sometimes erratic technique, whose tenure from 1977 to 1994 represents the NSO’s glory years.”

Posted September 29, 2010