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Christoph Eschenbach
© Eric Brissaud

On tour in the U.S. with Christoph Eschenbach

Returning to the US for the first time since 2012, the Bamberg Symphony was on a nine-city tour with Christoph Eschenbach conducting, and with violin soloist Ray Chen performing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, and the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, in various cities. With more than 50 years of musical collaboration between them, Eschenbach and Bamberg present a powerful artistic force, displaying both the orchestra’s historical distinction and its contemporary outlook, embodied in the young violinist, a protégé of the conductor. Repertoire also included Mahler Symphony No. 5, and Beethoven Symphony No. 3.

For the first time, our media partner TV Oberfranken was with us. The exclusive documentary will be broadcast after the tour on TVO. Reports and live broadcasts during the tour allowed to gain an insight into the daily life of an orchestra on tour.

In addition, two other journalists, Manuel Brug and Marco Frei, were with us on our tour. You can find all reports here.

Ray Chen
© Julian Hargreaves

Key concerts of the tour took place at Carnegie Hall in New York on February 8 (Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage), the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami on February 11, and Royce Hall in Los Angeles on February 17, presented by CAP UCLA. Additional tour dates included New Brunswick, NJ (February 7), Daytona, FL (February 10), West Palm Beach, FL (February 12), Vero Beach, FL (February 13), San Diego, CA (February 18), and Palm Springs, CA (February 20).

The Bamberg Symphony and Christoph Eschenbach – their prolific story began over 50 years ago, in October 1965, when the conductor and soloist made his first appearance with the Orchestra as guest pianist. Over a decade later, in 1977, he conducted the Bamberg Symphony for the first time. Since then, he has led the Orchestra in over 150 concerts in Bamberg as well as on tours to France, the USA, South America and Japan. In recognition of this extraordinary collaboration, the Bamberg Symphony appointed Christoph Eschenbach as its Honorary Conductor in January 2016.

Christoph Eschenbach has been the Music Director of the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft in Zurich (1982 to 1986), the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1988 to 1999), and the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg (1998 to 2004). After ten years as Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris, from September 2000 to August 2010, and several years for the Philadelphia Orchestra, from September 2003 to 2008, he became, in September 2010, Music Director of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Washington National Symphony.

As a distinguished guest conductor Christoph Eschenbach is in demand with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world (Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Shanghai, Rome, Milan, Dresden, Leipzig, Munich, Amsterdam, etc.) as well as prestigious festivals, including Salzburg, Tanglewood, the Ravinia Festival, Saint Petersburg, Granada, Rheingau, and Schleswig Holstein. His repertoire ranges from J.S. Bach to the late 20th and early 21st-centuries, and reflects his commitment to not just canonical works but also to the music of our time.

Born in Breslau, Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland), Christoph Eschenbach studied piano with Professor Eliza Hansen and won numerous piano competitions at a young age. In 1965, the first prize of the Clara Haskil competition in Lucerne launched his career as a soloist. In demand worldwide by top concert halls and orchestras, he met George Szell who invited him to tour with The Cleveland Orchestra. In the same period he developed an artistic collaboration with Herbert von Karajan as well. He made his US debut in 1975 with the San Francisco Symphony.

Ray Chen

Winner of the Queen Elisabeth (2009) and Yehudi Menuhin (2008) Competitions, Ray Chen is among the most compelling young violinists today.  He has released three critically acclaimed albums on Sony: a recital program, Virtuoso, of works by Bach, Tartini, Franck, and Wieniawski, and the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky concertos with Swedish Radio Orchestra and Daniel Harding.  Following the success of these recordings, Ray Chen was profiled by The Strad and Gramophone magazines as »the one to watch.«  Virtuoso was distinguished with the prestigious ECHO Klassik award.  His third recording, an all-Mozart album with Christoph Eschenbach and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, was released in January 2014.

Ray Chen continues to win the admiration of fans and fellow musicians worldwide. On Bastille Day in 2015, he joined Daniele Gatti and the Orchestre National de France for a televised concert on the Champs-de-Mars in Paris in front of an audience of over 800,000. He recently completed a five-city tour of China with the Gothenburg Symphony and Kent Nagano, as well as a European tour with the London Philharmonic and Christoph Eschenbach.  Other highlights of the past season include his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, a recital at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and a second engagement with Gatti and the Orchestre National de France.

In 2012 he became the youngest soloist ever to perform in the televised Nobel Prize Concert for the Nobel Laureates and the Swedish Royal Family. His Carnegie Hall debut with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Sakari Oramo, as well as his sold-out Musikverein (Vienna) concert with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly, were met with standing ovations. Ray Chen was a Junge Wilde artist at the Konzerthaus Dortmund between 2012 and 2015.

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