The Gürzenich-Orchester Köln stands for ground-breaking interpretations and an innovative programme. It is currently one of the leading orchestras in Germany for concerts and operatic performances. The Gürzenich-Orchester has been one of the two resident orchestras of the Cologne Philharmonie (Kölner Philharmonie) since its opening in 1986, where it welcomes more than 100,000 concert visitors to approximately fifty concerts each season. François-Xavier Roth has been Conductor of Gürzenich-Orchester and General Musical Director of the City of Cologne since the 2015/2016 season.
The roots of the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, which currently has some 130 musicians, go back to the medieval Ratsmusiken town bands and the first permanent ensembles of Cologne Cathedral. From 1857, the orchestra gave concerts in the Gürzenich Hall, whose name it still bears today. It has been the orchestra of the City of Cologne since 1888. In its long history, it has always attracted the leading composers and interpreters of its time; important works from the Romantic repertoire of Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler celebrated their première with the Gürzenich-Orchester. Contemporary composers also contribute to the appeal of the Gürzenich-Orchester: from 2015 until 2019, Philippe Manoury was invited by the orchestra to work as “Composer for Cologne” during which time, the orchestra commissioned the “Cologne Trilogy” — Ring, Saccades and Lab.Oratorium.