Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne
The Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne (Gürzenich Orchester Köln) is a German symphony orchestra based in Cologne (Köln). On some recordings, the orchestra goes under the name "Gürzenich-Orchester Kölner Philharmoniker". Its name comes from its past principal concert venue, the Gürzenich concert hall in Cologne. Currently, its primary concert venue is the Kölner Philharmonie (Cologne Philharmonic Hall).
The Gürzenich Orchestra traces its origins to 1827, when a group of Cologne Bürger sponsored the creation of the "Cölner Concert-Gesellschaft" (Cologne Concert Society) to set up "Gesellschaftskonzerte" (Society concerts) and "Abonnementskonzerte" (subscription concerts). The orchestra began to give concerts at the Gürzenich concert hall in 1857, from which it derived its current name. In 1986, the orchestra took up residence at the Kölner Philharmonie. The orchestra also plays in opera productions in the Cologne Opera.
From 2003 until 2014, the Gürzenich-Kapellmeister, or chief conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra, was Markus Stenz. He concluded his Gürzenich tenure in 2014. In February 2014, the city of Cologne announced the appointment of François-Xavier Roth as the next Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) of the city of Cologne, which includes the post of Gürzenich-Kapellmeister. The appointment of Roth as the 13th Gürzenich-Kapellmeister is effective on 1 September 2015, with an initial contract of 5 years. In October 2018, the orchestra extended Roth's contract to 2022.
The world premieres performed by the Gürzenich Orchestra include the following works:
- Johannes Brahms, Double Concerto for Violin and Cello (1887)
- Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 3 (in collaboration with the Städtischen Kapelle Krefeld, 1902)
- Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 5 (1904)
- Max Reger, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Hiller (1907)
- Richard Strauss, Don Quixote (1898)
- Richard Strauss, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks (1895)
- Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Sinfonia prosodica (1964)
- Conradin Kreutzer (1840–1842)
- Heinrich Dorn (1843–1849)
- Ferdinand Hiller (1850–1884)
- Franz Wüllner (1884–1902)
- Fritz Steinbach (1903–1914)
- Hermann Abendroth, GMD (1915–1934)
- Eugen Papst (1936–1944)
- Günter Wand, GMD (1945–1974)
- Yuri Ahronovitch (1975–1986)
- Marek Janowski (1986–1990)
- James Conlon, GMD (1990–2002)
- Markus Stenz, GMD (2003–2014)
- François-Xavier Roth, GMD (2015–present)
The orchestra's discography includes several CDs for EMI Classics of the music of Alexander von Zemlinsky, conducted by James Conlon. Under their Conductor Emeritus Dmitri Kitayenko the orchestra recorded a number of complete cycles by the composers Shostakovitch, Prokofiev, and Tchaikowski. In October 2005, the Gürzenich Orchestra began to produce their own commercial CD recordings under the "GO live!" label. One unique feature of these recordings is that these are recordings of the orchestra's performances that same evening, made available within 5 minutes of the end of the concert for purchase by audience members. The "Live CDs" were stopped after Stenz's tenure, in favour of live streaming from the orchestra's website.
- Hartmut Wilmes (22 June 2012). "Markus Stenz geht 2014 (Interview mit Generalmusikdirector)". Kölnischer Rundschau. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "François-Xavier Roth wird Generalmusikdirektor in Köln" (Press release). Stadt Köln. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Roth wird Nachfolger von Stenz". Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- Hartmut Wilmes (13 October 2018). "François-Xavier Roth bleibt bis 2022 in Köln". General-Anzeiger Bonn. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
- David Mermelstein (2 February 2003). "A Composer's Modest Champion". New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
- Richard Morrison (16 August 2008). "Taking the baton for Gustav Mahler's Fifth Symphony". The Times. London. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
- Official website (in German and English)