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Violinist Alexsey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo‘s wacky mix of classical music with heavy metal music, dance and slapstick humor has gotten millions of hits on YouTube. Beginning Thursday, audiences in the U.S. will get a chance to see them live on tour. The pair speak with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.
What do you do?
Hyung-ki Joo: “As Igudesman & Joo, we are a duo. And although we are classically trained musically, we love all kinds of music. And in our show, ‘And Now Mozart,’ we have homages to rock music and heavy metal and country and western and rap. We also include elements of dance and theatricality and there’s a lot of slapstick. Basically you don’t need to know anything about music to appreciate our shows.”
Alexsey Igudesman: “Basically what you’re trying to say is that we mix music and humor.”
What do you hope to accomplish with your music?
HJ: “We are just trying to have fun and we are succeeding in having fun and audiences are having fun too. And ultimately, if there’s any message, we just want people to go out and be creative, whether they are creative musically or creative in their lives. That’s kind of what turns us on, just to be creative.”
What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve done on stage?
AI: “I have big wooden sticks which I hand over to Hyung-ki, which he then takes and plays because his hands are too small to play the chords on the piano and then he throws them back and I have to catch them. And this is a sketch, for example, that we rehearsed for quite a long time with helmets so that we wouldn’t smash our heads.”
Does your style engage younger people more than the average classical music performance?
HJ: “One of the great bonuses that we get through our website or through our social media is a lot of parents and kids writing to us saying that ‘after seeing your show, I started learning the clarinet or the violin, or I went to the opera, or I bought CDs of Brahms, Rachmaninoff.’ So there’s an interest that’s tickled and they continue.”
Why combine so many different types of music?
AI: “The underlying message is that all music comes from the same place. We truly believe that all music originates from the heart and from feelings, and also from the same harmonies. We love pointing that out.”
All pieces composed and performed by Igudesman & Joo