Christoph Eschenbach, born 1940 in Breslau, Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland) is a noted pianist and conductor. Orphaned by World War II, he won numerous first-place piano competition prizes. In 1964 he made his first recording (of Mozart) for Deutsche Grammophon and signed a contract with the label.
Prior to being named to his positions as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris and the Philadelphia Orchestra, he held principal conducting and directing positions with orchestras in Ludwigshafen and Hamburg (Germany) and the Ravinia Festival (outside Chicago, Illinois). In 1981 he became principal guest conductor of Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, and was chief conductor from 1982-86. Other posts include music director of the Houston (1988-99); chief conductor of the Hamburg NDR Symphony (1998-2004); and music director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1994-2003). He has made numerous recordings both as piano soloist and conductor.
He is credited with helping and supporting talented young musicians in their career development including soprano Renée Fleming and pianists Tzimon Barto and Lang Lang.