Festival Orchestra Göttingen

At home in the world, united at the Festival

They hail from the world’s most renowned baroque orchestras: the musicians of the FestspielOrchester Göttingen. Every year in May, they gather together from over ten countries to form the exclusive orchestra of the Göttingen International Handel Festival.

Founded by Nicholas McGegan, a global friendship evolved that still stands sixteen years since the orchestra’s founding. Many of the original members continue to support “their” FestspielOrchester today and, together with promising young talents of baroque music, are forging the musical future of the Göttingen Handel Festival. To this day, a Festival opera is unimaginable without the FOG, as it is affectionately known. A kindred partner of Nicholas McGegan and Laurence Cummings in the oratorios and gala concerts, this outstanding orchestra has grown to become the hallmark of the Festival.

With twenty guest performances and sixteen CD productions, since 2013 in cooperation with NDR Kultur and the Accent label, the FestspielOrchester has left the musical fingerprint of the Handel Festival not only in Göttingen, but also around the world.

Since the very beginning, the orchestra has been praised by audiences and press alike, in particular for its great richness of colour and its light, bouncy, sensual sound. Its sheer brilliance, its infectious joy of playing and its vibrancy make this ensemble – since 2022 under the direction of George Petrou – unique.

George Petrou - Artistic Director

With the 2022 Festival, we welcome George Petrou as the new Artistic Director at the Göttingen International Handel Festival. Already at the 2021 Gala Concert, his passion was unmistakable, his energy always palpable on stage.

As a Handel specialist, he has been a guest in opera houses all over Europe, delighting audiences there both as a conductor and as a director. In his work, he focuses on historically informed performance practice, which, in addition to his work as a Baroque specialist, also includes the repertoire of later periods. Already in his first Festival season, he will present himself to the Göttingen audience as a conductor and as a stage director: For the first time in the history of the Festival, the artistic director will also stage an opera in Göttingen at the same time.

Numerous awards and award-winning recordings attest to his extraordinary qualities. For example, he won an Echo Klassik and was nominated for a Grammy for his Handel recordings. We are looking forward to George Petrou in Göttingen!

Current line-up

Violin 1

Elizabeth Blumenstock (Konzertmeisterin / Leader)

Catherine Aglibut

Barbara Altobello

Aniela Eddy

Anne Schumann

Milos Valent*

Violin 2

Christoph Timpe (Stimmführer / principal)

Sara DeCorso

Dáša Valentova*

Henning Vater


Klaus Bundies (Stimmführer / principal)

Gregor DuBuclet*

Aimée Versloot


Phoebe Carrai (Stimmführerin / principal)

Markus Möllenbeck

Kathrin Sutor*

Double bass

Paolo Zuccheri (Stimmführer / principal)*

Mauro Zavagno


Kate Clark


Kristin Linde


Dimitris Vamvas*

Kristin Linde


Rhoda Patrick

Nathaniel Harrison


Daniele Bolzonella

Anton Koch

Gijs Laceulle

Federico Cuevas Ruiz


Theodoros Kitsos


Marjan de Haer*


Hanneke van Proosdij


Panos Iliopoulos

* stage band