Deborah Rutter

A profound Beethoven 9th is Eschenbach's parting gift to NSO

A profound Beethoven 9th is Eschenbach's parting gift to NSO

Christoph Eschenbach received two thunderous responses Saturday night at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, where he led his final performance as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra.

The first ovation occurred before a note was sounded, when he walked onstage with Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter, who was ready to deliver some words of appreciation. Before she could start, however, the applause from the packed house grew in intensity, gradually turning into a standing O that continued for a good long while.

The second affirmation from the crowd was more expected, but no less impressive — an instantaneous roar that erupted the moment the last note of...

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