I have not been following any of the controversy surrounding this
announcement, but I thought this open letter from the Philadelphia
Orchestra Association might be of interest to list members.
Dear Friend of The Philadelphia Orchestra:
There has been much interest and discussion regarding Maestro
Christoph Eschenbach's recent announcement that his tenure as
Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra will conclude with
the end of his current contract, which runs through the 2007-2008
concert season. Unfortunately, much of the press coverage has
presented personal opinions and speculation that could very
easily be misconstrued as fact.
We are communicating directly with you to set the record straight.
First and foremost, we are very proud of the work Christoph
Eschenbach has done with The Philadelphia Orchestra and his
tenure has been and will be celebrated as part of the legacy of
The Philadelphia Orchestra. His decision to conclude his tenure
as Music Director at the end of our 2007-2008 season is a personal
one. Although we offered him an opportunity to continue as our
Music Director, he feels he has achieved his goals with us here
in Philadelphia and has many other opportunities to consider.
Maestro Eschenbach has always been treated with respect by the
board, management and musicians of The Philadelphia Orchestra.
It is simply irresponsible for anyone to disregard this fact,
make assumptions about his motivations, or manufacture possible
reasons for his departure.
There have been many important achievements during the first
three years of Maestro Eschenbach's artistic leadership of The
Philadelphia Orchestra, including the initiation of a landmark
recording contract, highly acclaimed national and international
tours, the appointment of nine musicians, including five principals,
and a renewed institutional commitment to community outreach.
He has effectively shared his vision of the orchestra's future
with donors, helping to build the orchestra's endowment to
All truly great artists provoke excitement and sometimes a degree
of controversy. Christoph Eschenbach is no exception. His work
with The Philadelphia Orchestra has produced many brilliant
performances and recordings. Though they may not always be to
the liking of every music critic, they remain valid, important
artistic statements made by an artist sought after by leading
orchestras around the world.
Christoph Eschenbach will remain the Music Director of The
Philadelphia Orchestra for nearly two full seasons and several
weeks as a guest in 2008 -2009. We look forward to the important
concerts and recordings we have scheduled with him during that
We, and many in our community, feel that in recent press coverage
there have been personal attacks on Maestro Eschenbach, along with
negative innuendo about his relationship with The Philadelphia
Orchestra. A local critic of the Philadelphia Inquirer went as
far as to allege that, '... what counts as success these days
is Eschenbach and the orchestra reaching the last measure of a
piece without getting lost along the way.' These types of comments
about Maestro Eschenbach and our orchestra are ridiculous,
offensive, and defamatory. Our entire orchestra family is
profoundly disappointed when reporters report the news in such
an ungracious way.
The entire orchestra family - board, staff and musicians - are
committed to supporting Maestro Eschenbach and making the most
of the remaining time we have together and to sharing our music
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association If you would like to contact
us, please visit our website at http://www.philorch.org/contactus.