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Our Guide in Cologne

Canadian musician Chilly Gonzales shares his favourite spots in the city.

Jason Beck a.k.a. Chilly GonzalesPhoto: Alexandre Isard

After moving to Europe in the late-1990s, piano virtuoso Jason Beck, a.k.a. Chilly Gonzales, has worked with Feist, Daft Punk and Drake. Hitting the right note with his rap-instrumental arrangements, Gonzales now makes his home in Cologne, Germany, where he’s been known to stage-dive at the Kölner Philharmonie.

Skulpturenpark KolnArtwork: Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 1996/99

Skulpturenpark Köln
There are so many green spaces in Cologne, but this parkette regularly stages exhibitions of new sculptures, most of which are integrated cleverly into nature. I’m not a fan of indoor museums, so this outdoor gem makes me believe in art again – even during the grey German winter!

Elsa-Brändström-str. 9, 49-221-336-68860


Schoke Pianos

Schoke Pianos
I try to find a piano nerd in every city I’ve lived in – someone who is a throwback to the days of the piano artisan. Christian Schoke rescues pianos as if they were pets and keeps them in an old-school storefront operation. Germans have pretty much dominated high-end piano manufacturing, so I’m living in the right country.

Lindenstr. 18, 49-221-234-5571


Kolner PhilharmoniePhoto: Matthias Baus

Kölner Philharmonie
An architectural and acoustic marvel in the city centre, the Philharmonie is part of the reconstruction of war-scarred Köln.
I have a standing gig here between Christmas and New Year’s, which has enabled me to get tickets for pretty much any classical concert. Some people have a local pub. I have the Philharmonie!

Bischofsgartenstr. 1, 49-221-204-080


Cafe Celli
I take notice when I see a new café open with fresh juices and healthier options. My vegan girlfriend approves of the vegan Italian ciabattas here, and I go for the mango lassi. The café is in an area known as Nippes, on the left bank of the Rhine between “old” Cologne and the municipality of Chorweiler.

Neusser Str. 291, 49-176-211-14193

 

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