Bach meets Ney-Flute

May 29th 2023, church of St.Agnes, Cologne


We would like to thank all participants, the friendly audience, the parish of St. Agnes and all donors for the enormous commitment and success of this wonderful intercultural concert.



The concert: Bach meets Ney-Flute



First of all, the airy, fine sound of the ney flute floats all alone through the huge, fully occupied church of St. Agnes, in the middle of the pulsating metropolis of Cologne. In the great acoustics of the church, it is often not even possible to hear where it actually comes from, but we are happy to follow the story that the flutist Mehmet Ungan lets it tell for minutes.


Then the last note of the oriental flute evaporates and in the next moment the mighty sound pillar of the Kyrie call, the beginning of Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B minor, sounds very concretely and like a prayer of humanity set to music, encompassing Heaven and earth. The enriching contrast between Orient and Occident was the guiding principle of a major concert project for which about 120 amateur musicians and professionals from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, the USA, Singapore, England and Germany had been preparing for over a year under the direction of Maarten van Leer.


Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B minor BWV232 is one of the most poignant and important works in Western cultural history, a cathedral of music, non-denominational in its layout. At the same time, it is a work in which all participants go to the limits of what is possible, both in terms of technical requirements and in terms of the length and pure physical effort that goes with it.


Over the almost two-and-a-half hours in which Bach's multifaceted and multi-layered choral and orchestral writing alternates with the enchanting simplicity of the ney flute, something so beautiful and sublime emerges that we can only look back on it with great gratitude. It was the music and all the people in this special room of St. Agnes who worked together, and no one should have been missing.




Anna Terterjan, soprano

Susan Marquardt, mezzo-soprano

Henk Gunneman, tenor

Johann Kalvelage, bass

Mehmet Ungan, ney-flute

International Choir and Orchestra for Peace

Maarten van Leer, conductor