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Kölner Bürgerorchester

The project

The Bürgerorchester Podcast is a project by Carla Kleiber, former FSJ-lerin of the »Ohrenauf!« department at the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne. «The Bürgerorchester was the first project I was able to experience first hand at the Gürzenich Orchestra. In the process, it totally grew on me.« For this reason, Carla decided to combine her FSJ project with the Bürgerorchester and to accompany the rehearsals and the concert medially with this podcast.

In a total of five episodes, she talks to various participants who make this project special - to the project leader Clara Friedrichs, musicians of the Gürzenich Orchestra, participants of the Bürgerorchester as well as to Gürzenich conductor François-Xavier Roth and his musical assistant Mariano Chiacchiarini.

Let yourself be carried away by the joy that accompanies this project!


Episode 1/4

We start into the new project

In the first episode of our Bürgerorchester  mini-series, our project manager Clara Friedrichs and conductor Mariano Chiacchiarini tell you all about the »Bürgerorchester« project. In addition, we introduce you to four protagonists from the Bürgerorchester, whom we accompanied during the rehearsal period.

Episode 2/4

Get to know our participants

In this episode you will get to know three participants of the Cologne Civic Orchestra. Axel, Doro and Johann take you to their homes and give you an insight into their everyday musical lives. How do they prepare for rehearsals, especially those with François-Xavier Roth?

The 1st Kölner Bürgerorchester

From the first rehearsals to the performance at the Philharmonie (2021)

The documentary accompanies the 1st Bürgerorchester and its participants from the first rehearsal to the long-awaited performance in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall. Patience and improvisation were in demand, several times the concert had to be postponed and the rehearsals could only take place online.

The Cologne Civic Orchestra was founded by Gürzenich conductor François-Xavier Roth. Both he and the professional musicians in his orchestra are passionate about this initiative. Together, they want to bring music out into the city and to its citizens. 40 professionals from the Gürzenich Orchestra worked on the works with the participants and supported them in their preparations for the first concert. Accordingly, there was a great deal of interest in participating in the Cologne Civic Orchestra, which comprises about 110 musicians. At the same time, the musical level of the participants varies greatly. »Some only started playing an instrument five years ago, while others have already played in other orchestras. But that's exactly what we like! In this way, our orchestra reflects the many facets of a lively community,« says Harry Ogg, who led the rehearsals as musical assistant to François-Xavier Roth.

Episode 3/4

François and his heart project

In the third episode of our mini-series about the Cologne Bürgerorchester, we accompany our principal conductor François. What is special about this project for him? And how does he best prepare our participants for the concert?

Folge 4/4

The big day

It's finally here: the big day when the Cologne Civic Orchestra plays the concert on the stage of the Kölner Philharmonie. Not only our participants are visibly touched, but also the audience and François-Xavier Roth are enthusiastic about the music and the project.

More videos from the Kölner Bürgerorchester

From citizen orchestra to professional musician | Cologne Bürgerorchester

Johann Weyer

Johann Weyer plays double bass in the Cologne Civic Orchestra. Even when he was little, he knew he wanted to learn the double bass. Now he is preparing for the entrance exam for the Musikhochschule. We accompanied Johann during his preparation for the Cologne Bürgerorchester.

Music makes me happy | Cologne Bürgerorchester

Doro Sturm

Doro Sturm plays trombone in the Cologne Bürgerorchester. Music has accompanied her all her life, both as a child at home and today at work and in her free time. We visited Doro at home to see how she prepares for the Cologne Bürgerorchester.


An ensemble player from the beginning | Cologne Bürgerorchester

Axel Becker

Axel Becker plays the cello in the Cologne Bürgerorchester. Music has always played a big role in his life, but above all he enjoys making music together with other people. We visited Axel at home to see how he prepares for the Cologne Bürgerorchester.

String orchestra 1

Béla Bartók and Pietro Mascagni (2021)

»Romanian Folk Dances« by Béla Bartók and »Intermezzo sinfonico« by Pietro Mascagni from the opera »Cavalleria rusticana«.

String orchestra 2

Carl Nielsen and Johann Strauss (2021)

Carl Nielsen's »Intermezzo« from »Little Suite for String Orchestra« and the »Pizzicato Polka« by Johann Strauss.

Wind orchestra 1

Jean Sibelius (2021)

»Finlandia« by Jean Sibelius (Arranged by Tim Laughlin).

Wind orchestra 2

Gustav Holst (2021)

From the Suite No. 1 in E flat major op. 28/1 for Wind orchestra by Gustav Holst »Chaconne« and »March«.

Wind orchestra 3

Kees Vlak (2021)

»Ipanema Playa« and »Copacabana Playa« by Kees Vlak from Las Playas de Rio.


Kees Vlak (2021)

Harry Ogg conducts »Copacabana Playa« by Kees Vlak aus Las Playas de Rio.


Episode 01 | Clara Friedrichs

Unknowns become family

The Bürgerorchester makes the dream of playing a symphony concert side by side with professional musicians come true. Under the direction of François-Xavier Roth, the amateur musicians are working on a concert programme together with the professionals of the Gürzenich Orchestra.

In this first episode, Carla Kleiber, FSJ-lerin of the »Ohrenauf!« department at the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, talks to Clara Friedrichs, the project leader of the Bürgerorchester. What does the role of »project management« mean? How far in advance is the project planned? What excites you about the project? Answers to these and more questions can be found in this episode. | 27.05.2022

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Episode 02 | Ulrike Schäfer

Rehearsals with a little magic

In this episode, Carla Kleiber, FSJ-lerin of the »Ohrenauf!« department at the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, talks to Ulrike Schäfer and other musicians from the Gürzenich Orchestra. What does it mean to be a »coach« in the Bürgerorchester? What is it like to make music with amateur musicians? You can find out this and more in this episode. | 03.06.2022

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Episode 03 | Participants

A wish comes true

In this episode, Carla Kleiber, FSJ-lerin of the »Ohrenauf!« department at the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, talks to Barbara "Bobby" Schubert, Johannes Deimann, Gerfried Heldt and other musicians of the Bürgerorchester. How did you find out about the Bürgerorchester? What excites you about this project? What is it like to make music with professionals from the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne? In this episode, you'll get an insight into the project from the side of the participants and answers to these and other questions. | 10.06.2022

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Episode 04 | François-Xavier Roth and Mariano Chiacchiarini

The power of music

In this episode, Carla Kleiber, FSJ-lerin of the »Ohrenauf!« department at the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, talks to Gürzenich Kapellmeister François-Xavier Roth and his musical assistant for the Bürgerorchester, Mariano Chiacchiarini. Why is it so important to realise this project here in Cologne? What feelings accompany you during this project? In this episode, you will get a closer look at the conductors' side of things and answers to these and other questions. | 17.06.2022

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Episode 05 | Concert Day

The gift of playing together

In this episode Carla Kleiber, FSJ-lerin of the department »Ohrenauf!« at the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, accompanies the 19.06.22, concert day of the Kölner Bürgerorchester in the season 21/22. How does it feel to be in the artists' foyer? Are you excited? Does the experience feel special? You will get an insight backstage, into the feelings of the participants on concert day and answers to these and other questions in this episode. | 24.06.2022

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