François-Xavier Roth extends his contract

The Gürzenich-Kapellmeister and General Music Director will be remaining in Cologne until at least 2025.

François-Xavier Roth is extending his contract as Gürzenich-Kapellmeister and General Music Director of the City of Cologne until the end of the 2024/25 season with an option to extend this further to include the 2026/27 season.

The charismatic Frenchman has been in charge of the Gürzenich-Orchester and Cologne Opera for more than five seasons, guiding their musical destinies with a sure hand. Time and again he and his team have surprised their audiences with their innovative programming, their internationally acclaimed world premieres, including music by Philippe Manoury, and impressive opera productions such as Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten. No less central to the orchestra’s work have been genre-defying partnerships and the development of various programmes intended to encourage new audiences, including the formation of a Citizens’ Orchestra. Roth’s earliest recordings of Mahler symphonies with the Gürzenich-Orchester were critically acclaimed by the national press. He was recently awarded the German Record Critics’ Prize in recognition of his musical achievements in Cologne and with the French ensemble Les Siècles.

François-Xavier Roth: “I am delighted and honoured to renew my contract as Gürzenich-Kapellmeister and General Music Director of the City of Cologne. I feel more than ever that there are no limits to what the Gürzenich-Orchester musicians and the team at the Cologne Opera are capable of achieving in terms of their exceptional performances. I am very much looking forward to my next few years in Cologne, and together with my Gürzenich-Orchester I should like to offer Cologne audiences emotionally exciting performances to which we shall be bringing all our energy and passion.”

Cologne’s Mayor, Henriette Reker, is extremely pleased to be able to retain the services of this exceptional and internationally acclaimed artist: “François-Xavier Roth is a charismatic and innovative musician who is known all over the world for his unusual and astute programming and for his ability to communicate with his audiences, whom he never fails to impress. I am delighted that by renewing his contract at the present time he has given a clear sign of his commitment to Cologne as a creative centre of music and culture. I am very much looking forward to many more inspiring years with François-Xavier Roth.”

Susanne Laugwitz-Aulbach, who is in charge of cultural affairs in Cologne, is delighted by François-Xavier Roth’s decision to remain in Cologne beyond 2022. “Roth is a musical visionary who in recent years has raised the Gürzenich -Orchester to an exceptional level of excellence and granted local audiences innumerable outstanding performances both at the Philharmonie and the Opera. Renewing his contract as Cologne’s General Music Director means that another chapter in this success story can now be written.”

Stefan Englert, Managing Director of the Gürzenich-Orchester: “François-Xavier Roth’s extension of his contract holds out a clear promise for Cologne’s future as a centre of music and as a city on which he has already exerted a unique influence since 2015. Working together with our Gürzenich-Orchester, which can not only look back on a long tradition but which is at the same time innovatively forward-looking, he has enriched the emotional lives of the people of Cologne with the profoundly human and unifying power of music. Together, we can achieve exceptional results in the years to come. Building on the work of recent seasons, we intend the orchestra to play an even more prominent role in the city and beyond as an outstanding and unique body of players that has allowed audiences everywhere to enjoy some fantastic musical experiences. We shall be devoting ourselves to this challenge with a tremendous sense of passion. I am really looking forward to this.”

Head of Orchestra Committee Georg Heimbach adds: “This is a welcome piece of news that has come at exactly the right time. Having already worked together with him for a period of five years in a spirit of unbridled enthusiasm, we are delighted that François-Xavier Roth has extended his contract. Under his direction we and our audiences have come to see a familiar repertory in an entirely new light. We have a long history of giving world premieres of works by composers such as Richard Strauss, Mahler and Bartók, while also championing the music of the present day. François-Xavier Roth has gratefully taken up this tradition and regularly includes new works in his programmes. With this decision the City of Cologne has made it clear that over the coming years we can continue our journey as an outstandingly innovative orchestra under the direction of FXR – not only for the people of Cologne but also as an increasingly sought-after ambassador for our city. This news, coming as it does today, during these artistically difficult times caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic, could not have come at a more opportune moment. We are delighted by it!”

In August, Myrios Classics will be releasing a recording of Schumann’s First and Fourth Symphonies. For further information on the recordings of the Gürzenich-Orchester and of François-Xavier Roth as well as on the programme for the 2020/21 season, please visit

Photo: Matthias Baus

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