The Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne

The Gürzenich Orchestra, firmly rooted in Cologne but open to the world, stands for groundbreaking interpretations, innovative programmes and diverse offerings beyond the concert hall. We are one of Germany's leading orchestras in both concert and opera - and have a tradition that has written music history like no other.

The orchestra was founded in 1827 by the Concert-Gesellschaft Köln, but its prehistory can be traced back to the medieval cultivation of music in Cologne. We have been the orchestra of the City of Cologne since 1888 and delight more than 100,000 visitors in about 50 concerts per season in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall. We also perform as the Cologne Opera Orchestra in around 160 performances each season.

Since the 2015/16 season, François-Xavier Roth has served as Gürzenich Kapellmeister and General Music Director of the City of Cologne. Honorary conductors are Günter Wand (1946-1974) and Dmitrij Kitajenko. The designated Gürzenich Kapellmeister and General Music Director of the City of Cologne from 2025/26 is Andrés Orozco-Estrada.

We look back with pride on our great past: outstanding works of the Romantic repertoire by Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler were premiered with the Gürzenich Orchestra. Today, this heritage is an incentive for us and our conductors to build bridges to the music of the present day: here, too, we can point to an impressive list of important premieres.

Around 150 musicians of the highest international calibre put their heart and soul into making us what we are: an orchestra of the highest calibre and with unlimited expressive possibilities. But we also leave the classical concert hall full of joy and without fear of contact to creatively inspire people in the midst of society. This is also part of our self-image. With performances in senior citizens' homes and kindergartens, workshops, concerts for schoolchildren and offers such as the Family Card, we inspire the most diverse target groups for music. Initiatives such as the Cologne Civic Orchestra and the Cologne Civic Choir invite people to actively participate. Of course, we are also active in the digital space with our GO Plus livestreams as well as podcasts and videos. Multiple award-winning CDs make it possible for the world to experience our uniqueness as cultural ambassadors of the city of Cologne.

From the 2023/24 season, we will be one of the three resident orchestras of the Concertgebouw Brugge, along with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest.

Gürzenich Kapellmeister

  • François-Xavier Roth (seit 2015)
  • Markus Stenz (2003–2014)
  • James Conlon (1990–2002)
  • Marek Janowski (1986–1990)
  • Yuri Ahronovitch (1975–1986)
  • Günter Wand (1946–1974)
  • Eugen Papst (1936–1944)
  • Hermann Abendroth (1915–1934)
  • Fritz Steinbach (1903–1914)
  • Franz Wüllner (1884–1902)
  • Ferdinand Hiller (1849–1884)
  • Heinrich Dorn (1843–1849)
  • Conradin Kreutzer (1840–1842)
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