Kölner Philharmonie

Chronology of the Kölner Philharmonie

Bau der Kölner Philharmonie

In den 1970er Jahren begannen in Köln die Diskussionen über eine städtebauliche Neugestaltung des Areals zwischen dem Kölner Dom, der Hohenzollernbrücke und dem Rhein. Für diesen Bereich, der bisher als Busbahnhof gedient hatte, wurde 1975 ein internationaler Architekturwettbewerb ausgeschrieben. Den ersten Preis erhielt das Kölner Architekturbüro Busmann und Haberer. Zunächst sollte an dieser Stelle nur ein Museumskomplex mit einem Mehrzweckraum für Happenings und Veranstaltungen gebaut werden. Da es in Köln aber keinen Konzertsaal gab, der den modernen Anforderungen entsprach, so dass viele berühmte Orchester und Solisten ihre Tourneen an Köln vorbei planten, beschloss man bald, statt des Mehrzwecksaales einen großen Konzertsaal zu bauen. 1980 konnte mit den ersten Vorarbeiten der Baugrubensicherung begonnen werden. Die besondere Lage des Grundstücks im Grundwasserbereich des Rheins und in unmittelbarer Nähe zu den Bahngleisen des Kölner Hauptbahnhofs stellte äußerst hohe Anforderungen an die Bautechnik. Die Arbeiten am Rohbau dauerten fast drei Jahre und konnten im Oktober 1983 abgeschlossen werden. Für die Innenverkleidung wurde amerikanische Roteiche ausgewählt. Der Innenausbau des Konzertsaals und des Foyers konnte 1986 abgeschlossen werden.

Orgel der Kölner Philharmonie

Die Orgel der Kölner Philharmonie wurde von dem renommierten Bonner Orgelbauer Johannes Klais erbaut. Sie hat drei Manuale, zwei Spieltische und 70 Register mit fast 6.000 Pfeifen. Der Westdeutsche Rundfunk betreibt in der Kölner Philharmonie ein volldigitales Tonstudio, das für Rundfunk- und CD-Aufnahmen genutzt wird. Die Dachkonstruktion der Philharmonie besteht aus 10 Stahlfachwerkstreben, die eine Stahlbetondecke stützen. Die Stahlkonstruktion blieb im fertigen Bau sichtbar und ist eine der architektonischen Besonderheiten der Philharmonie. Der Konzertsaal ist dem Halbrund eines Amphitheaters nachgebildet. Dadurch ist das Podium in den Mittelpunkt des Erlebens gerückt und der Saal strahlt trotz seiner über 2000 Plätze eine besondere Intimität aus. Die Akustik erwies sich als außerordentlich günstig, sowohl für große Orchesterabende als auch für Solokonzerte.

  • 1986

    Concert by the Gürzenich Orchestra to celebrate the opening of the Kölner Philharmonie on the 14th September. The inaugural speech is held by the composer Mauricio Kagel. On the evening of the same day, the Gürzenich Orchestra gives a performance of Mahler's 8th Symphony conducted by Marek Janowski. The founding director of the Philharmonie is Franz Xaver Ohnesorg.

  • 1987-1990

    The Kölner Philharmonie is received enthusiastically by artists, the public and the press alike, and a range of international orchestras, conductors and soloists put in guest appearances. Throughout the initial years, the number of concerts rises from 220 to around 370 per season.

  • 1991

    A festival to mark the 5th anniversary of the Kölner Philharmonie, culminating in a performance of the "KölnMusik Fantasy" by the brothers Markus und Simon Stockhausen. The spectacle ends with a splendid fireworks display and a highly original laser-show.

  • 1994

    The first MusikTriennale in Cologne: Conceived as an exciting retrospective of the music of the closing 20th century, the festival is one of the musical highlights of the year. The major orchestras of the world such as the Munich and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic appear, alongside such legendary artists as Ray Charles and Al Jarreau.

  • 1996

    The 10th anniversary of the Kölner Philharmonie. Celebrations include not only a birthday party in the Philharmonie, but an enormous "Philharmonic Festival" in Cologne's Rheingarten. The festival includes a "Jubilee" concert by Markus and Simon Stockhausen, a composition comprising music, laser-show and a spectacular fireworks display.

  • 1997

    Second MusikTriennale in Cologne: Over 2,100 artists gather to present a fascinating and varied panorama of 20th century music which ranges from outstanding orchestral concerts to the première of a jazz opera by Carla Bley.

  • 1998-1999

    Residency by the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur. Over 20,000 visitors flock to hear his extraordinary interpretation of the music of Tchaikovsky in a series of nine concerts. At the invitation of the Kölner Philharmonie, Isaac Stern gives a series of lectures on chamber music in April 1999 in Cologne. This is the first time that the artistic activity of this world-acclaimed violinist has taken him to Germany. Before the end of the WWII Isaac Stern vowed never to appear in Germany - in the country which unleashed so much suffering on the world. In a further cultural highlight to mark the hosting of the 1999 World Economic Summit by the City of Cologne, a benefit concert is held on 19th June 1999 in aid of UN refugee aid. In the presence of all the G8 state heads and government leaders, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, the Gürzenich Orchestra performs a concert conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.

  • 1999-2000

    Albin Hänseroth takes over as Intendant (artistic and managing director) of the Kölner Philharmonie. The "Artist in Residence" is the French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez who conducts eight concerts during this season. From 25th April to 12th June 2000, Cologne plays host to the MusikTriennale Cologne 2000, the third edition of one of the world most important festivals of 20th century music. Artists from across virtually the entire musical spectrum are to be seen in over 160 concerts, spread over 16 venues in Cologne. The list of artists appearing ranges from leading international orchestras from the USA and Europe, distinguished soloists and jazz musicians from various styles to leading exponents of the contemporary rock and world music scene.

  • 2000-2001

    Leading artists and ensembles have been celebrating a variety of anniversaries in the Kölner Philharmonie. The Alban Berg Quartet marked its 30th anniversary with a series of three concerts, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe its 20th with five concerts and the early music specialists, the Ensemble Concerto Köln, honoured its 15th anniversary with four concerts. November 2000 saw the first performance in Germany of Mauricio Kagel´s specially commissioned work "Entführung im Konzertsaal" (Kidnapping in the Concert Hall), just a few days after its world premiere. The internationally distinguished coloratura soprano Edita Gruberova also gave her debut in the Kölner Philharmonie with her fascinating aria recital and the pianist Alfred Brendel, as "Artist in Residence", played five concerts.

  • 2001-2002

    The Kölner Philharmonie is celebrating its 15th anniversary by staging an exciting programme of concerts during the year. Among the highlights of this season is the international project "Music of the Silk Road", a collaboration with the visionary cellist Yo Yo Ma, which delighted both local and non-local concert-goers alike. To mark the 50th birthday of Wolfgang Rihm, one of the most productive composers of our time, the Kölner Philharmonie is also playing host to the most comprehensive birthday retrospective of his works in a series of 12 concerts. A further highlight is the concert series scheduled for the spring and summer of the year 2002 to celebrate the 75th birthday of the world-famous conductor Kurt Masur, with the maestro himself conducting the Israel Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.

  • 2002-2003

    Two ambitious concert projects are setting the tone for this season: The four-part cycle "Music under Dictatorship", starring Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Czech Philharmonic, will deal with the issue of music composition in the Soviet Union under Stalin. Exploring the tension between artistic freedom and programmatic music, this well-received and fascinating series will feature compositions by Shostakovich and Prokofiev. The highly acclaimed cycle "Benjamin Britten" has been conceived exclusively for the Kölner Philharmonie by the world-famous tenor Ian Bostridge. In a total of four concerts, an array of outstanding artists will document Britten's interest in literature, the antiquity, folk music and in contemporary politics to reflect the oeuvre and compositions of this leading British composer.

  • 2003-2004

    The autumn and winter 2003 season culminates in a fascinating concert cycle featuring two English orchestras, which could not be more different, yet which reflect the creative vitality of the English classical music scene: the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Colin Davis, which celebrates its centenary year in 2004, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, which at the tender age of 17 is still a young ensemble. The outstanding highlight in the spring is the MusikTriennale Köln 2004. In accordance with its motto "Discovering Europe", the festival will gather in the Philharmonie leading European orchestras to showcase compositions from their respective native countries and convey a vivid impression of the musical richness of this continen

  • 2004-2005

    Two music events conceived especially for the Kölner Philharmonie have characterised this season: On the one hand, the five-part concert portrait of the renowned flautist Emmanuel Pahud, which provided a fascinating insight into the vast realm of possibilities of both his multifaceted technique and of his instrument. On the other hand, there is the residency of the Los Angeles Philharmonic – a European exclusive – whose five concerts were enthusiastically received by the audiences and press alike, not least, because the series featured Esa-Pekka Salonen in both his guises: conductor and composer.
    Following the death of the Intendant Dr. Albin Hänseroth in September 2004, Louwrens Langevoort was appointed the new head of the Philharmonie at the end of January 2005.

  • 2005-2006

    With three autumn concerts conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock, the Philharmonie transcends the conventional boundaries of the concert experience: music, recitations, costumes and stage play combine to create a fascinating holistic experience. In spring, the Japanese master pianist Mitsuko Uchida performs three exclusive concerts, featuring primarily her favourite composers Schubert und Mozart. Dedicated to Mozart, whose 250th birthday is being celebrated in 2006, is a series of piano songs which has been compiled exclusively for the Kölner Philharmonie by the famous song accompanist Graham Johnson. Together with a number of partners, KölnMusik is resurrecting the cinema located in the Philharmonie by launching the Filmforum NRW which in future will also be showing music films.

  • 2006-2007

    Coinciding with celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the Kölner Philharmonie, the 2006/2007 season has played host to a glittering array of well-wishers, such as the German entertainer Harald Schmidt, the conductors Peter Eötvös, Semyon Bychkov and Markus Stenz together with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. This was followed by an extensive series of concerts paying tribute to the oeuvre of Igor Stravinsky, featuring the stand-out viola player Tabea Zimmermann showcasing in four concerts her mastery of chamber music. The highlight of the spring is the MusikTriennale Köln 2007, whose three main themes focus on the manifold possibilities in the art of improvisation, the works of Luciano Berio and the rich musical landscape of China.
    With the launch of PhilharmonieLunch, a 30-minute opportunity to experience concert rehearsals during the lunch break, the Philharmonie is now also attracting highly diverse audiences at midday. Conversely the concerts in the series PhilharmonieVeedel are transporting philharmonic sounds out into Cologne's local neighbourhoods - an initiative, which has met with a highly positive response throughout the country.

  • 2007-2008

    The close ties that have existed between the Kölner Philharmonie and Kurt Masur for years again find expression in a concert series. On the occasion of his 80th birthday Masur conducts his Orchestre national de France in the Philharmonic Hall. All three performances focus on Bruckner symphonies and Beethoven piano concertos, for which the maestro has invited aspiring young pianists. With its Saison russe, the virtuoso Artemis Quartet presents a four-part programme in which the great Russian compositions meet their European points of reference, while intellect, history and the often-cited Russian soul unite in a happy combination. In the autumn the Kölner Philharmonie and Radio Europe invite visitors to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr together, the festival celebrating the end of the Islamic fasting-month of Ramadan. A concert night and a matinee, in addition to a great number of other events all in and around the Kölner Philharmonie, invite people of all religions to join in and 10,000 visitors to come. With Salam Ramadan the Kölner Philharmonie takes up the challenge of integration.

  • 2008-2009

    The season begins with two triumphant scenic performances of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Michaels Reise” by musikFabrik, which were held in high acclaim well beyond Cologne and North Rhine-Westphalia. The minimalist Steve Reich is giving two concerts in Cologne, performing for large audiences first in the immediate vicinity of paintings by Gerhard Richter at the Museum Ludwig, and later at the Kölner Philharmonie. The Bamberger Symphoniker engage in a three-part dialogue with Franz Schubert, exploring relationships between the composer, his models, and his highly creative successors. A four-part series is devoted to the trio, opening one’s ears for this form and its historical development from Haydn piano trios up to the contemporary jazz trio. At Easter time, the virtuoso violinist Daniel Hope pays tribute to his model and mentor Yehudi Menuhin. With a three-part homage on the tenth anniversary of Menuhin’s death, Hope is performing artistic milestones of the great violinist’s career.

  • 2009-2010

    The season is marked by many highlights. The St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra travels to Cologne with its conductor Valery Gergiev for three evenings focused on Russian music. The New York Philharmonic gives its first Cologne performance under the baton of its new music director Alan Gilbert with a programme of American works and Classical compositions. Fans of new music are thrilled by Olga Neuwirth’s “Kloing!” for player piano, live pianist and live film. Pierre Boulez celebrates his 85th birthday with Ensemble intercontemporain and the Philharmonie audience. At Easter Wolfgang Rihm’s “Hunts and Forms” is interpreted by the Sasha Waltz Dance Company and at Whitsun Elena Bashkirova and her Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival bring together music by Robert Schumann and Elliott Carter. A special highlight of the season is the MusikTriennale Köln 2010, a three-week festival with the motto “Home – homeless”, which showcases the city of Cologne as a powerhouse for modern and contemporary music.

  • 2010-2011

    Themenschwerpunkte zu Film und Tanz gehören zu den großen Ereignissen der Saison. Die enge und fruchtbare Beziehung zwischen Musik und Film wird in der Serie „Meisterregisseure und ihre Komponisten“ beleuchtet. Der Saal der Kölner Philharmonie wird zum Lichtspielsaal, in dem renommierte Orchester die enge Beziehung zwischen Film und Filmmusik verdeutlichen, wie es im Kino nicht möglich ist. Eine besondere Rolle spielt der Tanz in dem Portrait des weltbekannten schwedischen Klarinettisten Martin Fröst. An den großen Erfolg des „Salam Ramadan“-Festivals von 2007 knüpft „Diwan am Rhein“ ein ganzes Wochenende lang an. Eine Gelegenheit für alle Bürger der Stadt, das Ende der islamischen Fastenzeit zu feiern und Integration zu leben. Besondere Glanzlichter setzt Gustavo Dudamel, der erstmals mit „seinem“ Los Angeles Philharmonic zu hören ist. Der Pianist David Fray stellt sich dem Publikum nach vielen Konzerten zum ersten Mal als Solist vor. Internationale Orchester von den Wiener Philharmonikern bis hin zum Russian National Orchestra, große Dirigenten wie Nikolaus Harnoncourt oder Pierre Boulez, Sängerinnen und Sänger wie Anne Sofie von Otter, Magdalena Kožená oder Philippe Jaroussky sowie bekannte Pianisten wie Hélène Grimaud oder Herbert Schuch sorgen darüber hinaus für große musikalische Momente. Im Bereich Kammermusik setzt das Artemis Quartett einen Schwerpunkt auf Beethoven mit der Aufführung aller Streichquartette des Komponisten.