National Symphony’s “honeymoon” with Eschenbach

Posted on: June 25, 2012

In Sunday’s (6/24) Washington Post, Anne Midgette writes about the professional relationship between the musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Christoph Eschenbach. “In his own way, he’s throwing himself wholly into reanimating the orchestra: rehearsing energetically, playing chamber concerts with his musicians, going to fund-raising events with patrons. This last is a part of the job in the United States that most European music directors tend to loathe, but Eschenbach embraces it: ‘I meet very interesting people,’ he says. People tend to respond in kind. ‘Our board is in love,’ says the orchestra’s executive director, Rita Shapiro. The orchestra is responding, too…. The most important changes of all, however, involve personnel…. ‘In two years,’ Shapiro says, ‘he has hired seven players and tenured one, and there are three principal openings. He’s really overseeing and selecting and building that way, making enormous change in the sound of the orchestra.’ ‘Orchestras adapt to the personality of the conductor,’ Eschenbach said, speaking by phone the week before the orchestra left for South America. ‘[The] Berlin [Philharmonic] played very, very differently with Karajan than with Abbado or Rattle. So this orchestra is tending now towards my way. “My way,” ’ he added, breaking into a few bars of the Paul Anka song, chuckling, before adding quickly, ‘But it is also their way.’ ”

Posted June 25, 2012