For over 30 years, Concerto Köln has ranked among the leading historically-informed performance practice ensembles. Maintaining deep roots in Cologne's own musical scene while making regular guest appearances in the great music capitals around the world and at renowned festivals, the self-governed orchestra is synonymous with outstanding interpretations of early music. Concerto Köln opened the 2019/20 season with the Oratorio ’Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno’ by Georg Friedrich Handel as part of the newly founded Cologne Festival “Felix! Originalklang in Köln”.
The multiannual research project, ’Wagner Readings’ that was launched in the 2017/18 season has received a great deal of international attention. This project, initiated and led by Concerto Köln together with Kent Nagano, will be an ongoing process in the years ahead and involves working through Richard Wagner's Tetralogy, ’The Ring of the Nibelung’, from a historical performance perspective. The Kunststiftung NRW, the Strecker-Stiftung, the Province of North-Rhine Westphalia and MBL assist in supporting the ensemble with this artistic-academic project.
By now, the ensemble is able to boast a discography of over 75 recordings, the majority of which are distinguished with awards such as the ECHO Klassik, the Opus Klassik, the Grammy Award, the German Record Critics Award, the MIDEM Classic Award, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, the Diapason d’Année and the Diapason d’Or. Two new CD releases attest to the boundlessly enthusiastic approach to playing exhibited by the Cologne musicians: One recording sheds a new light on Francesco Geminiani's bold compositions. The other features virtuoso Italian Concerti for four solo violins, recorded live by the concertmasters of Concerto Köln who will also present this repertoire on tours in Germany, Austria, Spain, Canada and the USA.
Musical partners in the new season include violinist Giuliano Carmignola, with whom the ensemble has worked for many years, soprano Emöke Baráth, concert designer Folkert Uhde and conductors Kent Nagano, Ivor Bolton and Riccardo Minasi.
As a cultural ambassador of the European Union (2012), the orchestra acts as a musical figurehead for Cologne and its province, North Rhine-Westphalia.