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Christoph Eschenbach (b1940)

Christoph Eschenbach’s mother died giving birth to him, and his father, who had been a musicologist at the University of Breslau, was victimised for his opposition to the Nazis. Eschenbach was raised by his grandmother, as his father was prevented from seeing him; the father was put into a camp, and then shot. His grandmother then died and his godmother became Christoph’s foster-mother after rescuing him from a Maklinburg camp. Growing up in his godmother’s house Eschenbach heard a lot of music as she was a singer and pianist who gave lessons at home, and her husband was an amateur violinist. Early musical influences upon the boy were Edwin Fischer and Wilhelm Furtwängler.

At the ages of eleven and twelve Eschenbach twice won first prize in the Hamburg Steinway Piano Competition. When he was seventeen he won a special prize in the International Music Competition in Munich, followed by first prize of the German Schools of Music Competition. He studied at the Cologne Musikhochschule with Hans-Otto Schmidt-Neuhaus and then went to Hamburg where he studied piano with Eliza Hansen and conducting with Wilhelm Brückner-Rüggeberg.



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