The Cologne Classical Ensemble is one of the leading collectives for classical chamber music in North Rhine-Westphalia. Nine musical personalities from North Rhine-Westphalia have come together under the umbrella of the Kölner Klassik Ensemble e.V. The cooperation between the musicians is based on artistic appreciation as well as friendship and collegial solidarity over many years. They are united by the desire to develop demanding music - without external restrictions and only committed to musical quality.

Extraordinary concept

The ensemble pursues a concept that is still unusual in classical music: four different formations are consistently combined under the umbrella of the Kölner Klassik Ensemble e.V. in order to create synergies in cooperation, organization and publicity. This creates space and freedom, which enables the development of new chamber music forms, cross-style programs and new repertoire.
Every musician in the Cologne Classical Ensemble has the opportunity to develop artistic ideas as much as possible with not lackinng the quality of years of cooperation and a fixed organizational framework. This is all the more important because the Cologne Classical Ensemble offers unusual paths away from the established chamber music repertoire in the combination of string instruments with the classical guitar. Here you can experiment, arrange and recompose. With these approaches, chamber music gains its attractiveness even with younger listeners. Because the overcoming of strict style and genre divisions is an outstanding aspect to secure chamber music as a current art form in the 21st century.

The years: 2003-2007

The Cologne Classical Ensemble was founded in 2003 by students from the Cologne University of Music (Hochschule für Musik Köln). In these first years a fresh and relaxed approach to music was in the foreground. The young ensemble created an unmistakable style with their own arrangements and special line-up, organized many concerts under their own direction and toured Denmark and Sweden in the summer of 2003 with more than 20 concerts. Over 30 appearances in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan followed annually.
During these first years the Cologne Classical Ensemble soon developed an excellent reputation for its arrangements of the music of Astor Piazzolla. The examination of the works of the great Argentine was followed by the highly acclaimed recording for Sony Classical with his music. The years from 2003 to 2006 were characterized by the line-up, which was quite unusual with three violins, viola, cello, double bass, guitar and piano, but the repertoire offered many possibilities, from baroque concerti to romantic works by Dvorak and Tchaikovsky to Astor Piazzolla offered. The musical range had been continuously expanded. The mere fact that the ensemble also worked with a guitarist opened up musical styles from the outset that also belong to the classical guitar: Italian and Spanish composers such as Luigi Boccherini, Mauro Giuliani, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco or Joaquin Rodrigo. These first years were also shaped by great, young musicians who made up the face of the ensemble during this time: In addition to the artistic director Tobias Kassung, these were primarily the violin soloists Irakli Tsadaia and Alexander Prushinskiy, the violinists Maike Schmersahl, Anastasia Pylatyuk and Alissa Margulis, the cellist Heike Schuch, the altist Aliaksandr Senazhenski, the double bassist Georgi Berov and the pianist Natasha Majer. These musicians are still close today and meet for joint concerts.

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.