Kölner Kammerorchester

Cologne Chamber Orchestra


A warm string sound, sensitive illumination of musical structures, extraordinary interpretations – these are the qualities that its audiences love about “their” Cologne Chamber Orchestra. Christoph Poppen, Principal Conductor, has studied the living musical tradition of the ensemble intensively and has made Johann Sebastian Bach’s, Haydn’s, Mozart’s and Franz Schubert’s works the focus of his fourth season. After all, which composers offer more beautiful challenges while making this orchestra’s strengths audible?

The Cologne Chamber Orchestra is the oldest chamber orchestra in Germany. In 1923 the idea of interpretations appropriate to the work in question led to its founding. In 1963 Helmut Müller-Brühl took over the musical directorship from the conductors of the early years, Hermann Abendroth and later Erich Kraack. A widely acclaimed concert tour to Switzerland with the pianist Wilhelm Kempff in 1964 launched the Orchestra’s collaboration with numerous internationally renowned soloists. Ever since, Müller-Brühl and the Orchestra enjoyed impressive success in Europe, North and South America, Asia and at international festivals.

As part of the Brühler Schlosskonzerte (Brühl Palace Concerts), founded and led for more than three decades by Helmut Müller-Brühl, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra regularly performed operas and concerts as a festival orchestra. Since 1988 it has presented the concert series “Das Meisterwerk” (“The Masterwork”) at Cologne’s Philharmonie.

Traditionally, young soloists considered newcomers or insiders’ tips were invited to the Cologne Philharmonie by the Cologne Chamber Orchestra. Thus, Julia Fischer made her debut at the age of 17 as part of the “Meisterwerk” concerts. Names like Christoph Eschenbach, Christine Schäfer and Alban Gerhard are closely associated with this concert series.

More than 200 CD and LP recordings, radio and television productions featuring the Cologne Chamber Orchestra document a repertoire of more than 500 masterworks and unknown jewels. Since 1995 the ensemble has worked with the CD label Naxos, a worldwide presence, to record a constantly growing repertoire. In 2001 its recording of the three Darmstadt Overtures by Telemann won the Cannes Classical Award.

2016 Cologne Chamber Orchestra appeared in Stadthalle Homberg, Korea Incheon Cultural & Arts Center and Seoul Arts Center, at Lichterfest Schloss Benrath Düsseldorf, Festival Spannungen Heimbach, Rheingau Musik Festival, in Stadthalle Kleve, Kurhaus Wiesbaden and in Dülmen. In July Cologne Chamber Orchestera was the second time part of the „Festival Internacional de Música do Marvão“ in Portugal.

2017 Cologne Chamber Orchestra appeared in Düsseldorf in the Robert-Schumann-Saal, at Tongyeong Festival in Korea, was part of the Klavierfestival Ruhr in Konzerthaus Dortmund and will be part of the Festival Spannungen in Heimbach and the 4.„Festival Internacional de Música do Marvão“ in Portugal.