In the Cologne Classical Ensemble outstanding musicians of North Rhine-Westphalia meet regularly to perform chamber music in a variety of instrumentations and forms of expression. The collaboration of the musicians is based on artistic appreciation, and often years of friendship and professional bonds. All musicians share the desire to develop sophisticated chamber music - without any restrictions, only committed to musical quality. Concerts with the Cologne Classical Ensemble include projects from small to large ensembles.

Rare duo or trio combinations, classical quartets or quintets, 8- to 10-member ensembles and complete chamber orchestras. The Cologne Classical Ensemble has thus developed into a stage for the musicians, on which they can implement joint projects free from external constraints, completely devoted to the depth of their musical expression.

Koelner Klassik Ensemble 2018

The Cologne Classical Ensemble in October 2018 in front of the Cologne cathedral

The years 2003-2007

The Cologne Classical Ensemble was formed in 2003 by young graduates of the “Hochschule für Musik Köln” (Cologne). Under its Artistic Director Tobias Kassung, they soon performed nationwide and on tours in Denmark, Switzerland and Japan. In these first years recordings with the ensemble have been released with Sony Classical and KSG Classics. Style, repertoire and performance of the Cologne Classical Ensemble was shaped by a conscious exploration of the different musical epochs. Beside the interpretation of classical and contemporary music, the ensemble also approached music in unconventional instrumentations by using its own arrangements.

The early formation of the Cologne Classical Ensemble was ideally suited for baroque solo-concertos. Especially the violin and guitar concertos by Antonio Vivaldi and the piano and violin concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, which the ensemble performed regularly, served as an ideal introduction for a journey throughout the history of music. Further works that played a pivoting part in the repertoire are the great chamber music works of the classical and romantic periods. By changing the constellation of the group throughout the performance, the musicians were able to play a large and diverse amount of repertoire, centred around the trios, quintets and quartets by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms.

Due to the fusion of string instruments with classical guitar, the Cologne Classical Ensemble was also able to specialise in the dazzling and temperamental music of the Mediterranean. This  includes music from the classical period - marvellous pieces such as the famous guitar-quintets by Luigi Boccherini or the guitar concertos by Mauro Giuliani and Niccolo Paganini’s virtuosic compositions – up to countless works of the romantic period and impressionism, encompassing famous composers such as  Pablo de Sarasate, Camille Saint-Saïns, Edvard Grieg, Enrique Granados and Joaquin Rodrigo, whose famous Concierto de Aranjuez became the quintessence of Spanish guitar music.

The Cologne Classical Ensemble was especially renowned for its own sophisticated arrangements of Astor Piazzolla’s tango compositions. The exhilarating music of this famous Argentinean creates a brilliant finale for the journey throughout the history of music – a journey from past to present covering 300 years. Members that formed the ensemble during these years were among the Artistic Director Tobias Kassung, violin soloist Irakli Tsadaia, violin players Maike Schmersahl, Anastasia Pylatyuk and Allisa Margulis, cellistin Heike Schuch, altist Aliaksandr Senazhenski, double bass player Georgi Berov and  pianist Natasha Majer.

Kölner Klassik Ensemble Oktober 2006

The Cologne Classical Ensemble in October 2006

The years 2008-2018

Kölner Klassik Ensemble 2015

Members of the Cologne Classical Ensemble in November 2015

From 2008 on was established within the Cologne Classical Ensemble first the Astor Trio and later the Arisva Quartet. These two fixed chamber ensembles formed the basis for the later concept of the entire Cologne Classical Ensemble: to form a stage for the musicians, on which they can implement joint projects free from external constraints, completely devoted to the depth of their musical expression. In addition to the artistic direction of Tobias Kassung the musical direction of concertmaster Alexander Prushinskiy developed into one of the main pillars of the ensemble. The success proof how well this unique concept works out. Programs such as the extraordinary Astor Trio have played in the elite of German chamber music. They show how important it is to support each other and work in an atmosphere of freedoms that is needed to bring truly new and great art on the stage.


Gershwin & de Falla

Bach & Piazzolla