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Christoph Eschenbach to Step Down as National Symphony Orchestra Music Director in 2017 After 7 Years

by Jaime Prisco   Feb 19, 2015 10:27 AM EST

Christoph Eschenbach, the controversial music director of the National Symphony Orchestra and The Kennedy Center, will step down from his post in the 2017-18 season after seven years.

The NSO announced that Eschenbach will become conductor laureate for three years, spending a minimum of two weeks with the NSO every year. Thus, his contract as musical director will not be renewed.

“By 2017 I will have served as music director of American orchestras for almost 30 years,” said Eschenbach in a press statement, “and it makes sense to step away from these obligations.”

This announcement comes on the heels of a similar statement by New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert, who shocked the classical music world by announcing that he will step down in 2017 after only eight years.

“I am proud of the legacy I leave and I am deeply grateful to the musicians who have joined with me to create an internationally prominent and unified ensemble,” continued Eschenbach.


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