The eminent German conductor, Eugen Jochum, was the second of three sons of a teacher and amateur music enthusiast, whose older brother Otto became a composer and younger brother Georg Ludwig a conductor. He went to grammar school in Augsburg and took piano and organ lessons whilst there (1914-1922). He then studied orchestral conducting and composition under Siegmund von Hausegger and Hermann von Waltershausen at the Munich Music Academy.
His career began as répétiteur at the Munich Opera (1924-1925), and he then went to Kiel (1926-1927) in the same function; he made his debut in 1927 with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. His first concert was programmatic - he conducted Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7. In 1927, he was appointed director of music in Kiel, and remained there until 1929. At the same time, he conducted symphony concerts in Lübeck. From Kiel, he went via Mannheim (1929-1930) to Duisburg (1930-1932), where he became chief musical director, and then to Berlin Radio as musical director and conductor of the Berlin Opera (1932-1934). He succeeded Karl Böhm as chief musical director in Hamburg (1934-1949). In 1949, he became the principal conductor of the newly-established Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), remaining in that office until 1960. He then became principal conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam (1961-1964). From 1969 to 1973, he conducted the Bamberger Symphoniker and, from 1975 to 1978, the London Symphony Orchestra as 'Laureatus'.
Apart from his fixed obligations, he conducted in every musical centre, above all in Bayreuth (1953-1954, 1971) and Salzburg.
Eugen Jochum, who is considered one of the greatest German conductors of his generation, was influenced by the end of the German Romantic movement and passed this tradition on to his successors. The musical scores he premièred include Concerto for strings by Boris Blacher (1942), Concerte per il principe Eugenio (1951) by Alberto Bruno Tedeschi, Suite française by Werner Egk (1950), Tanz-Rondo by Gottfried von Einem (1959) and Symphony No. 6 by Karl-Amadeus Hartmann.