Christmas with the Gürzenich Orchestra

Family concert

Die Weihnachtsmannmaschine

Christmas is coming soon - Findus the cat can hardly wait with excitement! But until then he and old Pettersson still have a lot to do: fetch a fir tree from the forest, receive Christmas visitors and, of course, write a wish list. Findus dreams of something very special this year: Father Christmas is supposed to give him his present in person. Pettersson eagerly sets to work and disappears into his workshop day after day. But will Santa really hand Findus a present in the end?

In the staged concert on the 3rd of Advent, families can get in the mood for the coming Christmas together. The composition by Philipp Matthias Kaufmann combines the popular story by Sven Nordqvist "Tomorrow, Findus, there'll be something" with music by Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Edvard Grieg. Supported by a dancer and two actors, orchestra dog Gürzi tells the story and immerses both children and parents in the Christmas story.

The concert is recommended for children from 6 years

Wish list concert

Christmas concert

Christmas is the time when wishes come true - we fulfil your musical wishes in our wish list concert on 4 Advent! Together with the orchestra and the singers of the Bürgerchor, Gürzenich conductor François-Xavier Roth invites you to sing along in the Kölner Philharmonie. Because Christmas carols are as much a part of the Christmas season as the presents on Christmas Eve. So what could be better than raising the anticipation of Christmas together?

The Cologne cabaret artist and musician Martin Zingsheim will lead the programme, which is full of surprises in keeping with the Christmas season. Until 31 October, our audience was able to choose their three favourite works from a large number of suggestions via a wish list. The pieces that received the most votes will be performed in the concert. Among the suggestions are excerpts from well-known works by Johann Sebastian Bach (Christmas Oratorio), Peter Tchaikovsky (The Nutcracker) and George Frideric Handel (The Messiah), which are an integral part of the Christmas season. But modern classics and traditional Christmas carols are also not to be missed when François-Xavier Roth, the Gürzenich Orchestra, the Bürgerchor and hopefully you join us in making music!

A choir as complex as our city.

With the newly founded Citizens' Choir, the Gürzenich Orchestra is acknowledging its roots and at the same time fulfilling a heartfelt wish: to make music together with the people of Cologne and to infect musicians and audiences with the magic of music. The Bürgerchor is an ensemble of amateur singers who responded to a call from the orchestra to perform two concert projects together in the current season. The choir took to the big stage for the first time in the festive concert to open the season. Under the direction of François-Xavier Roth, more than 150 singers sang their way into the hearts of the Cologne audience with the famous final movement of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. In the wish list concert on 18 December, the choir will once again be in the spotlight. This time it will be Christmas. And singing along is expressly encouraged! More...

It's great to sing with people from 16 to over 70. The opportunity to share this passion, to experience the happiness of singing together - this possibility for everyone, that was coherent from the beginning, that makes everyone's hearts beat faster!

Katrin Wolter, Member of the Bügerchor

With the Christmas subscription of the Gürzenich Orchestra, you give the gift of special concerts in the Kölner Philharmonie with highlights of classical music and exciting new discoveries. Choose between a small or a large subscription: moving musical experiences are guaranteed!

How do you spend Christmas?

Peter Fleckenstein – Percussion

»Christmas was a fixed routine for me for many years. The Christmas tree next to the tiled stove in the living room, the Christmas mass in the small church in Perchting near Starnberg. That changed when I became a professional musician, which was quite a change. I moved to Berlin and often had concerts on Christmas Day and Boxing Day with the Christmas Oratorio or performances at the opera with Nutcracker or Hansel and Gretel. But the most important thing for me was that we, my sister and my parents, were together and spent time together. I had a one-room flat, not so huge, but there we met like in a nest from all corners of Germany. Now I have a cool Christmas tree, with a built-in Christmas ribbon, and we eat loads of homemade biscuits, that's part of it, just like singing ›Silent Night‹ once.«

Anna van der Merwe – 2. Violin

»My wife and I have six children in the age of 13 to 23 - so Christmas is a big focus of the year. But the most important thing for us is interestingly no longer the question ›What do I get as a present?‹ but: ›What's for dinner?‹ This is hotly debated weeks and months in advance. On the morning of the 24th, we all go to brunch together in the city. My wife is also a musician, solo oboist with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra. So there's a good chance that one of us will play a Christmas concert in some church that day. Or we attend a nativity play. In the evening, we go to Christmas mass, and of course, as with almost all families, the highlight is the giving of presents. The first and second holidays then run almost like a normal Sunday, when one of us is on duty at the opera or concert and the others spend the day comfortably at home.«

Ayane Okabe – 2. Violin

»I come from Japan, from Tokyo, and Christmas doesn't play a big role there. We, on the other hand, celebrate New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. New Year's Eve with us is more of a quiet celebration. The whole family comes together to eat special long noodles called soba: They are supposed to bring health, luck and a long life, as long as the noodles. At midnight, a big bell rings at a Buddhist shrine, 108 times - this is supposed to erase all the burdens and problems of the past year so that you can go into the new year free of them. If I can't be at home, I call my family to hear the bell through the phone. Then on 1 January we visit this shrine together and pray for good luck for the new year. Later, there is an elaborate meal with many small dishes, usually relatives come. The preparations take days, and I enjoy helping my mother. And there are also presents. Traditionally, children get some money from their parents on New Year's Day.«

Egon Hellrung – Solo horn

»I come from Cape Town in South Africa, and Christmas is the warmest time of the year there. Everyone is on summer holiday and we often celebrate Christmas on the beach, with our feet in the water. Here in Germany, 24 December is the most important day, but we celebrate on the 25th, with a barbecue, guests and of course lots of presents. Christmas trees don't grow there, but sometimes you have an artificial tree with artificial snow or a South African tree that you decorate. Through my work as an orchestra musician, that has changed. Christmas is normal working time for us in the orchestra with lots of concerts and opera performances, so Christmas is different for me now: I meet up with friends to celebrate together. Like me, many of them come from abroad, so you get to know a little bit about each person's Christmas traditions. The best thing is the different dishes everyone brings.«

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