Activities Archive

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July 2021| "Odessa Suite"

Vadim Neselovskyi [p]

Just 3 days after the "Federal Covid Brake" ended, our eastPLUGGED® series continued with a solo concert by the Ukrainian-German pianist Vadim Neselovskyi, booked at short notice, at which Vadim presented his "Odessa Suite" developed during the pandemic. After a short introduction to the history, architecture and life in his home town, Vadim interpreted his impressions as a musical cycle. Wonderful his pieces without a fixed score, but nevertheless based on a classical background, such as the one about arriving by train in Odessa station or the acacia blossom in spring; emotional his intensive musical retrospective on the Holocaust in this city, which  merged into an optimistical Jewish dance, and improvisationally ingenious his music to the silent film "Battleship Potemkin" by Sergeij Eisenstein from the 1905 Odessa. Standing ovations from the audience for this versatile suite, barely after the last tone had faded away, and after the encore: an interpretation of a 3-part symphony from Johann Sebastian Bach's little book of notes written in 1720, diffusing into the sound space of the Friedenkirche. 

Thank you [Дя́кую] Vadim for this musical journey to your home town.


29 October 2020 | "NEW LEGEND"

Eva Kruse [b] | Eric Schäfer [dr] | Marie Gitman [ob] | Uwe Steinmetz [sax] | Christian Jormin [p]

One feature of the eastPLUGGED® concerts is that always new sound spaces are presented, this time by the EVA KRUSE QUINTETT with saxophone [Uwe Steinmetz] and oboe [Marie Gitman]. Although Marie had to stand in for Tjadina Wake-Walker at short notice, the two complemented each other in an almost stupendous way and dominated the sound character of most pieces. It was a grandiose promotion for saxophone and oboe in jazz. They were complemented on drums by Eric Schäfer, whose mental balance projected his complex rhythms and grooves into the sound space of the Friedenskirche with such crystalline clarity as the wonderful piece "Små diamanter i ett vattenfall" suggested, as well as by Christian Jormin on piano. And  Eva Kruse? She is the "inventor" of this unusual quintet, she is the source of the great variety of compositions, combining power, poetry and musicality, and she is the basis from which the quintet draws its strength, dynamics and harmony. Everything fits together!

Many thanks to Eva, Eric, Uwe, Marie and Christian for these wonderful new musical impressions at eastPLUGGED®!


18 September 2020 | "Kierkegaard´s Waltz"

Petter Bergander [p] | Eva Kruse [b] | Robert Mehmet Ikiz [dr]

Once again "3 Swedish Artists" at eastPLUGGED®: a "real Swede", namely the eponym and pianist Petter Bergander, whose compositions include quiet ballads ["Lyttelä Pardise"] as well as electronic, almost rock pieces; the Swedish-based German bass player Eva Kruse, who presented her virtuousic playing impressively in "The Return of the Afghan Boy" [based on a true refugee story] and during her string passages; and the Turkish-born Swedish drummer Robert Ikiz, who performed at eastPLUGGED® for the third time. He impressed with his strong while also filigree stroke sequences as well as by his wonderful solo, during which even used a bottle of the eastPLUGGED® Pinot Blanc, which was given as a present to the guests after the concert. The diversified program was highly appreciated by the audience, which - due to the pandemic - this time was not characterized by "aerosol clouds" but by particularly long applause and e.mail comments after the concert. Thanks to the great audience and

tack så mycket to Eva, Petter and Robert!


eastPLUGGED® Special Concert

Blind Date | 27 June 2020

At 19.10h the "blind date" secret was revealed, who the 3 red bars on the poster stand for: from 3 directions Pascal Schumacher [vib], Luciano Biondini [acc] and Jens Düppe [dr] entered the stage, which was still veiled until then. With great logistical effort the 3 musicians had been "separated" during the day: upon arrival, accommodation in the hotel, soundcheck etc., (only) now they - and the audience - found out with whom they should perform and improvise together in this "blind date". This is the basic idea of the "blind date" concerts, which have been performed succesfully in Cologne over the past years and which now found their premiere in Ratingen.

Pascal was the fastest and started the concert with first “drops” on the vibraphone, which condensed into a complex after only a few seconds by the hissing of Jens´ brushes and Luciano´s accordion tones  ... and what happened then can't be described, you must have heard it, which - due to the Corona requirements - unfortunately was only possible for the 60 guests who were lucky enough to win the seats. The 3 musicians improvised and complemented each other in an almost symbiotic way during their first joint performance, sound-wise, rhythmically, in the field of tension of the chords, in the expression of their instruments and in the sound space of the Friedenskirche, which developed its acoustic qualities even with this rather untypical instrumental composition. For a blind date concert, it was almost ingenious that each of the three was given die opportunity by the other  two players to contribute his musical language without losing the big picture.

Merci. Pascal,  mille gracie Luciano und vielen Dank Jens, for a „blind date“, which will remain as a highlight in our minds.

*for those who could not be there: a little concert excerpt, protected by copyrights, i.e. only published for listening and not for download or transfer:

as well as the report of Swiss Radio SRF 2 culture of 30 June 2020, also claiming copyright:

Coco /Covid&Co) concerts

5 June - 3 July 2020

In order to thin the viral fog, present in spring 2020, for musicians and audience, the USB Foundation initialized and supported five Coco ["Covid&Co"] live concerts in the Friedenskirche in June/July according to the regulations; at the beginning before 30, later before 50 guests. For all musicians it was the first public performance since the beginning of the pandemic and everyone was happy playing again in front of an audience and getting applause, and there was plenty of applause, because all concerts took place on a high level, the musical spectrum from classical music to world music to jazz was large and the outstanding acoustic of the Friedenskirche could be experienced especially in the completely unamplified performances.

Thanks to all participants for making this possible in times of pandemic:

Rainer Böhm [p] | Norbert Scholly [g]: June 05, 2020

Knut Hanßen [p]: June 12, 2020

Jens Düppe [dr]| Clemens Orth [org]: June 19, 2020

Anke Helfrich [p]| Angelika Nascier [sax]: June 26, 2020

Roger Hanschel [sax]| Ramesh Shotam [perc]: July 03, 2020


eastPLUGGED® Special Concert
Junior Award 2018/19 | 17 November 2019

I. Niklas Roever Trio II. Jens Düppe Quartet

With this concert, the Niklas Roever Trio [Niklas Roever (p), Daniel Oetz (b) and Felix Ambach (dr)] impressively underlined their first place in the audience and jury voting of the eastPLUGGED® Junior Award 2018/19. Niklas's numerous original compositions will be remembered not only for their demanding titles ("Anthropomorphism" ...), but above all for their stupendous musicality and sophisticated coordination in the trio, while the soloistic skills of the three Cologne based musicians may be emphasized as well. Finger´s crossed that the victory in the eastPLUGGED® Junior Award will be the start of a successful career!

In the 2nd set Jens Düppe (dr), curator of the eastPLUGGED® Junior Award, performed with Frederic Köster (tr) , Lars Doppler (p)  and Christian Ramond (b). Impressive how the quartet was one hundred percent present from the first note to the end and how its dynamic and brilliant playing reached every corner of the church room. Jens presented the program as the quartet's "best of", and the audience followed this classification by applauding each piece stormily.

As sometimes before at eastPLUGGED®, there was a very special encore ending the evening: "bye bye blackbird" by Ray Henderson, played as a septet with all musicians and double instrumentations on the grand piano, drums and bass, a brilliant finale!

Thank you very much for this great double concert evening with very young and somewhat older jazz musicians.


| „K&K“ double concert | 31 October 2019

I: Joachim Kühn [p] „Melodic Ornette Coleman“
II: Håkon Kornstad [sax, voc] „Tenor Battle“

At the 2nd eastPLUGGED® double concert 2 artists presented their solo programs, which could not have been more different.

In the first part, the grand seigneur of German jazz, Joachim Kühn, to whom 3sat just dedicated an extensive homage on his 75th birthday. During his musical partnership with Ornette Coleman [1996-2002] the pieces were played only once, now Joachim Kühn selected them from his archive and rearranged these songs: free, wild, ballad-like, spontaneous, reduced, powerful, always "with whole-body exertion": unique!

In the second part, the Norwegian Håkon Kornstad, who started singing in 2009 as a jazz saxophonist, then worked as a tenor at the opera, and on this eastPLUGGED® evening he confronted jazz with opera and saxophone with voice [hence: "Tenor Battle"]. With great interpretations from Bizet to John Coltraine, but also with Swedish folk songs the sympathic Scandinavian thrilled the audience as much as with his extremely witty announcements, which fulfilled high cabaret standards.

And then the joint encore in which Joachim Kühn and Håkon Kornstand, who had only met on stage that evening, improvised freely: Music entertainment at its finest.

Vielen Dank to Joachim and Takk to Hakon for this musical "Grand Slam".


WOLFGANG HAFFNER & BAND „kind of eastPLUGGED“ | 10 May 2019

Wolfgang Haffner [dr] | Christopher Dell [vib] | Simon Oslender [p, rhod] | Christian Diener [b]

Tremendous applause of the audience already during the entry of the four musicians and standing ovations at the end of the almost three-hours concert, the 4th by and with Wolfgang Haffner at eastPLUGGED®; and in between: Christopher Dell demonstrated in the first two pieces his dynamic on the vibraphone, which is even more sensible in the sound space of the Friedenskirche; Simon Oslender convinced everyone with his varied playing on the grand piano as well as on the Fender Rhodes; very impressive his multi-faceted performance on the two keyboard instruments. Within the quartet Christian Diener impressed by his precise support on the bass and Wolfgang Haffner was again omnipresent at the highest level, in the quiet pieces with brooms as well as in his powerful solos or his wonderful and emotional arrangement of the "Concierto de Aranjuez". That (at his request) all this sounded in the light of the Easter candle shows the special empathy of the musicians in this concert series.

Dear Wolfgang: A thousand thanks to you and your wonderful fellow musicians for this fabulous eastPLUGGED® night in the special atmosphere of the Friedenskirche.

As further participants of the "eastPLUGGED® Junior Award 2018/19", the Cologne based "Niklas Roever Trio" played various own compositions before the main concert.



Leszek Mozdzer [p] | Janusz Wojtarowicz [acc] | Pawel Baranek [acc] | Marcin Galazyn [acc]

Even though the Motion Trio named one of their pieces "Quetschkommoden Overture", Janusz Wojtarowicz, Pawel Baranek and Marcin Galazyn presented anything but "Quetschkommoden music".  Their goal is "to draw sounds from the accordion that have never been heard before", and the trio did so in a perfect way during numerous original compositions as well as on the basis of classical compositions by Fréderic Chopin and others. Leszek Mozdzer, whose virtuoso playing on the Steinway grand piano gave the sound of the three accordions a further, ingenious acoustic dimension, made this evening very special. This became particularly clear with the probably most profound song of the evening entitled "sounds of war", composed 20 years ago on the occasion of the Chechnya war and now performed in all its acoustic facets in front of the illuminated "round cross" of the Friedenskirche. Very impressive!

Bardzo dziękuję Leszkowi, Januszowi, Marcinowi i Pawłowi za ten wspaniały "polski koncertowy wieczór"

As a further participant of the "eastPLUGGED® Junior Award 2018/19", Berlin based pianist Johanna Summer played compositions of her own ahead of the main concert.


A Novel of Anomaly| 09 November 2018

Andreas Schaerer [voc]|Kalle Kalima [g]|Luciano Biondini [acc]|Lucas Niggli [dr]

What a gig! For the first time we welcomed a vocalist to eastPLUGGED®, however Andreas Schaerer is much more than just that, namely: a vocal virtuoso, a vocal acrobat, a sound and rhythm maker, who even covered the trumpet part or percussion (just with his voice!) on some pieces. Cooing, clicking, drumming, all in breathtaking sequences - or even simultaneously- in a previously unknown manner: simply sensational, especially together with his three congenial partners: Kalle Kalima, virtuosic improviser on guitar, percussionist Lucas Niggli, who played his wonderful solo in such a rage that his straw drumsticks flew through the church like comets, and Luciano Biondini: a genius on the accordion, sitting, dancing, standing: always present.

Merci vielmals, kiitos, mille gracie for this terrific concert night, whose title was program!

In a pre-concert, Darius Heid [p] and Ferdinand Schwarz [tr] performed as participants of the "eastPLUGGED® Junior Award 2018/19" with acoustic compositions of their own under the theme "deceleration".


eastPLUGGED® Special Concert

Jan Lundgren [p] | Hans Backenroth [b]
Ratingen Chamber Choir, conductor: Dominikus Burghardt

This special concert was the public dress rehearsal of a fusion project titled “MAGNUM MYSTERIUM”, sponsored by the USB Foundation, in which Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren met the Ratingen Chamber Choir under the direction of Dominikus Burghardt. With its engagement, the USB Foundation also acknowledges the relevance of the Ratingen Chamber Choir within the German choral scene and the importance that Jan Lundgren has long attached to choral music. The international premiere of this project took place in Sweden on 03 August 2018 during the YSTAD JAZZ FESTIVAL

The evening's repertoire included Bach's Air from the orchestral suite No. 3 as well as works by Monteverdi, Albinoni and Debussy, each based on a classical theme, with overlapping instrumental and vocal passages. It was wonderful how Jan Lundgren on the grand piano and bassist Hans Backenroth accompanied, supported, broke up, supplemented and merged the choral structures, perfectly presented by the Chamber Choir. The audience experienced the choir and the soloists in top form, including the presentation of six Romanian folk dances by Bela Bartok at the end of the concert.

Many thanks for this top-class fusion project.


08 June 2018

I: KYOTO MON AMOUR Eric Schäfer [dr] Kazutoki Umezu [kl] Naoko Kikuchi [koto] John Eckhardt [b] II: FATHER & SON Ulf Wakenius [g] Eric Wakenius [g]

We did not expect so much "bad luck" during travelling to Ratingen, but in the end all 6 artists were not only physically present, but also in a good mood and full of motivation to perform the 15th eastPLUGGED® night (sold out again), which Ulf and Eric Wakenius started with the piece "Vagabond", reflecting their difficult outbound trip.  In the afternoon, father and son had described their relationship as that of good friends, at the concert the harmony expressed in this way became audible to all guests through the extremely precise, energetic, dynamic guitar playing of the two. Beatles´ songs were part of the repertoire as well as own compositions and a reference to Esbjörn Svensson.

Tack så mycket för denna fantastiska familjuppträdanden! Thanks a million for this fantastic family performance!

After Eric Schäfer had finalized his unintentional flight adventure and reached Ratingen, his German-Japanese quartet was complete and took the audience on a partly meditative, partly lyrically inspired musical journey, during which the Asian sounds of the koto (played by Naoko Kikuchi) and the clarinet of Kazutoki Umezu (= Dr. Umezu from the KIKI BAND) symbiotically merged with the bass of John Eckhardt and the Eric´s  percussion. Eric's monumental drum solo was not in contradiction to this, but rather the acoustic volcanic eruption on this musical trip to Asia.

【いろいろありがとう】 Thank you, Eric, for giving us a concert with these great musicians! 


B-A-C-H | 02 February 2018

Dieter Ilg [b] | Rainer Böhm [p] | Patrice Héral [dr]

The 14th eastPLUGGED® concert brought together what had been planned for a long time: Friedenskirche - Bach - Ilg.  Bach and the church complement each other eo ipso, although numerous Bach interpretations exist, from swinging classical to electronic neo-classic versions, but Dieter Ilg's compositions are unique: to some extent the pieces are closely related to the original score, but then  dissolve into surprising interpretations and improvisations, without losing Bach, while at the same time being deeply jazzy. With Rainer Böhm on piano and the percussionist Patrice Héral, Dieter Ilg has two outstanding musicians at his side who no longer need eye contact to present their Goldberg variations, sonatas and small pieces from a Bach songbook as precisely as Johann Sebastian would have wished. Whether this also applies to the solos, with which every musician introduced himself personally in between, remains to be seen: they were in any case expressive interpretations of highest virtuosity, followed by storms of enthusiasm from the audience.

It should be noted that this concert had a "pre-concert" in which two youngsters from Ratingen [Kilian Enzweiler, Jan Pocha] impressed the audience with vibraphone and marimbaphone.

Thank you very much for this great jazz evening. Merci pour cette formidable soirée de Jazz.


Lars Danielsson Group | LIBERETTO III | 17 November 2017

Lars Danielsson [b] | Gregory Privat [p] | Andreas Hourdakis [g] | Robert Ikiz [dr]

A Swede from Denmark [Lars Danielsson] on bass, a Swede with Greek roots [Andreas Hourdakis] on guitar, Istanbul-born drummer Robert Mehmet Ikiz and Gregory Privat, French pianist from Martinique, formed the congenial Liberetto Quartet of the 13th eastPLUGGED® night. With "Agnus Die", a hymn for his mother, Lars Danielsson picked up the spiritual atmosphere of the Friedenskirche at the very beginning and with the next piece "Orange Market" at the latest, the four artists had filled the church space with their harmonious compositions. A great concert at the end of the 4th eastPLUGGED® year, especially as Lars Danielsson with an improvised bass solo of Luther's "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" put a very special final tune to this exclusive eastPLUGGED® themes in the Luther year.

Tack mycket för den grandiosa kvällen. Merci beaucoup pour cette soirée superbe! 


TONBRUKET | Dig It To The End | 05 May 2017

Dan Berglund [b] | Johan Lindström [g] | Martin Hederos [p] | Andreas Werliin [dr]

The 12th eastPLUGGED® concert in the Friedenskirche was sold-out again and the musical “path” of previous concerts was intentionally left several times during this performance, as Dan Berglund, Johan Lindström, Martin Hederos  and Andreas Werliin played numerous Rock compositions besides Jazz and Folk pieces, all original, and compositions like “Dig It To The End” or “Vinegar Heart” not only put the enthusiastic audience into vibrations but  also the solid bricks of the church walls. Such acoustic sounds were never heard before in this concert series and the audience never grooved like during this night.

None of the Musicians tried to take the spotlight, on the contrary: all four harmonized perfectly. With Johan Lindström putting his classical electric guitar aside and picking up a pedal-steel guitar however, the new electronic and oriental sounds took the music to a completely new level with the distinctive sound of this instrument.

The pedal-steel guitar was also used when TONBRUKET presented their interpretation of Luther´s “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott”, a very special dedication to the Luther year. 

Tusen tack för denna härliga kvällen! Thanks a million for this exciting concert!


Beauty & Truth | 31 March 2017

Joachim Kühn [p] | Eric Schäfer [dr] | Chris Jennings [b]

It was probably the most intensive performance on the piano in our eastPLUGGED® series yet, either way Joachim Kühn, grandseigneur of the German jazz scene,  received standing ovations after each of his powerfully presented compositions. Despite his age of 74, Joachim Kühn bursts with energy and fascinated the audience. Eric Schäfer on the drums and Chris Jennings with his 140 years old, sonorous double bass (built in Germany, then shipped via Canada to Paris, where Chris bought the bass), completed the trio perfectly. During Eric´s soli – presented with brilliant directness and clarity – the stability of the church’s brickwork was seriously tested. This is true as well for the 3rd variation of Luther´s “Ein fest Burg …” which started vocally, after Joachim Kühn had asked the audience to sing the first verse, before a dynamic instrumental improvisation followed such that it might even have been heard in heaven.

A fantastic 11th eastPLUGGED night. Danke Joachim und Eric, thanks Chris!


Tandem | 28 January 2017

Michael Wollny [p] | Vincent Peirani [akk]

2h after the ticket sale had started, all tickets were sold out and accordingly the expectations in view of Michael Wollny´s 3rd eastPLUGGED® concert were very high. These expectations were even exceeded and both artists delivered a concert of the highest standards. Away from the mainstream, with highest precision at the instruments, while at the same time exploiting the chances of improvisation, Michael Wollny on the piano and Vincent Peirani on his accordeon/accordina presented their symbiotic interplay in front of a concentrated, fascinated and enthusiastic audience.

This audience experienced what Michael defined as follows: „I hear Vincent´s play less as an accordion but as an orchestra”. In combination with Michael´s dynamic piano play sound wonders developed from the „waltz with some accidents“ to the “siren piece“. And it was again the encore, when the concert reached its culmination point: to mark Luther´s 500 anniversary the DUO played an interpretation of his „Ein feste Burg …“, especially adapted to this church room, its ambiance and acoustic.  Fantastic!

Thanks Michael: is was brilliant!   Vincent: Merci beaucoup, c´était genial!


Introducing | 04. November 2016

Marialy Pacheco | Joo Kraus

It was the unanimous opinion after the concert of the Cuban pianist Marialy Pacheco and the German trumpet player Joo Kraus that this had been a very special treat. The music covered a wide range from Marialy´s own compositions like „Cuban Suite“ to titles such as Sting's „Englishman in New York“ and Michael Jackson's „Earth Song“. Each and every piece was a jazz arrangement of highest level! Marialy did not deny her musical roots, she impressed with her light, groovy and virtous piano playing as did Joo playing the flugelhorn with a seductive sonority and a trumpet sound reminding of Miles Davis at his best days. Not only in his solo performance, including a big variety of electronic effects, he proved his creativity and taste. This event was another highlight of our eastPLUGGED® concert series.

¡Muchas gracias! Marialy; Vielen Dank, Joo!


The Iiro Rantala Concert Night | 22. April 2016

Iiro Rantala [p] | Marius Neset [s] |Asja Valcic [c] | Adam Baldych [v]

Iiro Rantala started our eastPLUGGED concert series 2013 “solo piano” and with the Kyrie of J.S. Bach´s mass in h-minor; now he presented the Kyrie in a new exciting interpretation as a duo with Saxophonist Marius Neset as his congenial partner, and both inspired the audience again with their perfect instrumental and acoustic fusion during own compositions of the young Norwegian (“Prag´s Ballet”) as well as during improvisations like that of Pat Metheny´s “Antonia”.

This night Iiro Rantala [piano], Asja Valcic [cello] and Adam Baldych [violin] presented the last performance of their “String Trio”, which was very successful over the past years, and a program of “chamber music character” as well as “cross over” pieces, wherein  different styles merged into new tone colors, transferring the enthused audience into a new sound world.

A 3rd great performance of the Finnish pianist, this time with support from Norway, Croatia and Poland.

Kiitos, Dziękuję, Hvala & Takk for this European Concert Night!


Kind of Cool | 11 March 2016

Wolfgang Haffner All Star Quartet

 “In this chamber music concert hall” even the most subtile tones should spread unadulterated said Wolfgang Haffner at the beginning of his 3rd eastPLUGGED® concert in the unique ambiance of our Friedenskirche room. Insofar – apart from the guitar amplifier – they played un-plugged and thus the sublime, chamber-music like interaction of the 4 top musicians could develop in an electrifying  and touching way during the fine, reduced tones. Christopher Dell at the vibes, who played himself close to ecstasy during his improvisations, guitarist Ulf Wakenius who remembered his longtime musical partner Oscar Peterson with a wonderful ballad, Ingmar Heller giving the quartet an exquisite musical basis. besides his virtousic solos, … and Wolfgang Haffner as “spiritus rector” of this concert night, who, with his nearly endless scope of tones and dynamic at the drums, once again “provoked” standing ovations of the Audience… All this was optically presented in an amazing way by light technician Chris Schatz in front of the Friedenskirche brick-wall.

One of the visitors qualified this eastPLUGGED® concert as a “stroke of genius”. There is nothing to add, except:

Thanks a million [Tack så hemskt mycket] to all of you for this stroke of genius.

Wasserfuhr-Quartett wf4

Running | 6 November 2015

Wasserfuhr Quartet

This was the first eastPLUGGED®-concert performed by a quartet: with Roman Wasserfuhr [p], Julian Wasserfuhr [tr], Benjamin Garcia Alonso [b]) and Oliver Rehmann [dr], and the first with a trumpet. The soft tone, which Julian extracted from his trumpet, sometimes gently supported by electronic effects, was the bridging element, while his play was definitely  “dominant” – in a positive sense – during numerous pieces.

The communication between the four allowed sentiments merging within the pieces of different styles in a harmonic way, for example during “L.O.V.E” of Bert Kaempfert, interpreted as a ballad.

The concert ended with an homage to Esbjörn Svenson, wherein the subtly integrated acoustic effects provided a particular intimate relation to Esbjörn´s music.

Thanks to the “4 Bergischen” for this enjoyable concert night in the Friedenskirche.

Michael Wollny | Wolfgang Haffner

Just The Two Of Us | 8 May 2015

Michael Wollny [p] | Wolfgang Haffner [dr]

Both musicians played their 2nd concert in our eastPLUGGED series, but as a DUO they played together for the first time. It turned into a top-class event with a very personal atmosphere.

The artists impressed with their stupendous virtuosity and the originality of their musical ideas. They played themselves into a state of ecstasy and thus hypnotized the audience.

The church room, being an outstanding place already due to its structure and acoustics, was “sound saturated” for 2 hours by these two exceptional musicians and in a way, we had never heard before. 

„This is no regular concert, these two play like they are from a different world” commented a female visitor.  “A unique sound experience” said pastor Thomas Gerhold.  Yes indeed, this truly describes the experience and this will stay in the ears and minds of all guests who were able to join the (sold-out) concert.

Even the birds outside the church must have had such feelings, as their songs came through an open church window during a quiet reflective piece to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of world war two [while Wolfgang Haffner did not believe that when told so, as he thought these voices were produced by our sound engineer Daniel Oberbanscheidt! ]

A very big Dankeschön to Michael Wollny and Wolfgang Haffner for this exciting concert night.


Shine | 10 March 2015

Jacob Karlzon [p] | Hans Andersson [b]| Robert Mehmet Ikiz [d]

„Amazing music, performed with virtuosity, empathetic, sensible“ commented the „Rheinische Post”. „Champions League Class“  was the headline in the Ratinger Wochenblatt after this fulminant 2-hours-night of music in the Friedenskirche, and the press comments represent exactly the feeling the audience had during this “technorganic” concert (so defined by Jacob Karlzon himself), again with no chair remaining vacant.

Three musicians delighted to play, in continuous  interaction with the audience and presenting numerous highlights, in particular by Robert Ikiz on drums, even-tempered solos by Jacob Karlzon at the Steinway piano and an encore which was specially arranged for the Friedenskirche and its host, pastor Thomas Gerhold.

Again: This concert night was in full harmony!

Ett stort tack till Jacob, Robert och Hans!


Piano Solo | 29 November 2014

Bugge Wesseltoft [p]

„It´s for the first time that I will play 2 concerts in a row during one night” said Bugge when he started, but this was exactly what we, the organizers, had asked him to do on this special Saturday evening, namely the night leading into the first Advent.

During the first part (“piano solo”), Bugge performed with his electronic program, supported by the piano and various sound objects,  symbolizing the past, while preparing the path for the upcoming weeks until Christmas eve for our pastor Thomas Gerhold with his second set („It´s Snowing On My Piano“) .

The audience (again this concert was sold-out) was happy to follow and already dreamt of Christmas during the second set.

Takk Bugge! for this special Advent concert!

Piano Trio

Piano Summit | 23 May 2014

Michael Wollny [p] | Iiro Rantala [p] | Leszek Mozdzer [p]

Our hopes were confirmed when they physically arrived at the Friedenskirche in the afternoon: We had been successful to engage these three top artists for the Piano Summit and they gave a breathtaking concert at 2 Steinway Pianos and one Fender Rhodes (from 1962) in varying combinations. This concert still remains in the memory of all guests who were able to get a ticket (because of the limited space we could only satisfy 1/3 of the ticket demands).

Wollny´s „witch dance“, „Tears for Esbjörn“, composed by Iiro Rantala, Leszek Mozdzer playing „Incognitor“, all three together playing a Rumba at the end of the concert, changing positions at the pianos, 1 to 6-handed at one piano, 2 handed at 2 pianos: this concert night provided all you can imagine (or not)… and nobody knew, that the “highlight” was still to come.

During the sound check in the afternoon, Leszek Mozdzer had noticed an old Chappel piano, totally out of tune, in a hallway of our church, the same piano John Lennon used to play in Liverpool for years, and the three spontaneously decided to use this old piano for a very special encore. After the final applause the church lights extinguished and the three artists played IMAGINE: on this Chappel piano, on the church organ and on said Fender Rhodes. An unforgettable moment!

Dziękuję! Kiitos! Danke! to these three fantastic pianists for an amazing night of music


Rantala Power Trio | 8 November 2013

Iiro Rantala [p] – Wolfgang Haffner [d] – Heiri Känzig [b]

The new  eastPLUGGED®  concert series, initiated by pastor Thomas Gerhold together with the USB foundation and presented in the Friedenskirche in Ratingen, could not have started better than with these 3 artists.

Iiro Rantala was already in a good mood during the day. „If I am allowed to play here again, I will consent immediately“…were the first words of Wolfgang Haffner when he arrived, so excited he was by the special ambience of the church room.

And this excitement continued: A few beats later the audience was rapt away: all three musicians were extremely expressive with their instruments , congenial in the trio and when they played NUTT for the first time ever, a piece that Iiro had composed just one day before, now in the sold-out church room, the audience left the seats and went overboard (in a positive sense).

Kiitos! Danke! Merci! to Iiro, Wolfgang and Heiri for this start of our new concert series.