About IGUDESMAN & JOO
Millions of YouTube viewers can’t be wrong. Well they can, but in this case they aren’t, and they’ve turned the inspired lunacy of musicians Igudesman & Joo into an internet and international sensation. Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo have taken the world by storm with their unique and hilarious theatrical shows. Combining comedy with music – their clips on YouTube have gathered over 45 million hits – they have appeared on many of the world’s biggest stages and have been invited to perform with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, L.A. Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia to name but a few.
Equally comfortable performing in concert halls as well as in stadiums in front of crowds of 18,000,
their infectious zaniness and virtuosity has made millions of college and high school students among their biggest fans, building a younger and wider audience for classical music at a critical time for the industry. As composers they have been commissioned by orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dusseldorf Symphony, Vienna Symphony, and Zürich Tonhalle. They have collectively released over 50 publications on Universal Edition, and their film and concert music is performed by musicians and children all over the world.
Aleksey and Hyung-ki met at the age of twelve at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England. Thanks to a portion of fish and chips the pre-teenagers became friends and in 2004, following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Victor Borge and Dudley Moore, began creating their numerous ground-breaking shows. Since then, many of the world’s most respected musicians have asked the duo to include them in their skits of musical mayhem, such as Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Janine Jansen, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Viktoria Mullova, Julian Rachlin, and Yuja Wang. They have also teamed up with actors such as John Malkovich for their CD album You Just Have to Laugh and a project called The Music Critic, and former James Bond, the late Sir Roger Moore, who collaborated with the duo on several occasions in aid of UNICEF.
Individually, Aleksey Igudesman has worked with Academy® Award-winning Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer, and Hyung-ki Joo was chosen by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Billy Joel to arrange and record Joel’s solo piano compositions on a CD which reached #1 on the Billboard Charts.
Both Hans Zimmer and Billy Joel not only recognise the artists as serious musicians, but also endorse them as entrepreneurs through “Music Traveler”- a platform and mobile app for musicians to book rehearsal rooms around the world, originally founded and conceived by Igudesman. The duo also formed “Music Traveler Productions”, designed to create original content for film and TV.
IGUDESMAN & JOO, in addition to their own productions, have appeared in several films including the mockumentary, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Classical Music, Pianomania and the award-winning Noseland.
Besides touring the duo shows A Little Nightmare Music, AND NOW MOZART, Play it Again, and shows with symphony orchestras such as BIG Nightmare Music, Upbeat, and various other titles, they also enjoy giving various educational programs and master classes while on the road. These encounters with the students leave the next generation inspired and confident to break new grounds for their own musical journeys.
Autumn 2019 will see the publication of the book they are currently writing on the subject of creativity called Saving the World.
Aleksey Igudesman was born in Leningrad at a very young age. He is known as a violinist, composer, conductor, comedian, film maker, actor, writer, poet, and entrepreneur, but his secret passion is cooking, eating out in luxurious restaurants and writing reviews on tripadvisor.
He has never won any competitions, mainly because he has never entered any. During his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School, he read the entire plays of Shaw, Wilde and Chekhov, which didn’t improve his violin playing, but made him feel foolishly somewhat superior to other less intellectually endowed, yet harder practising, colleagues.
After studying the violin with acclaimed pedagogue Boris Kuschnir in Vienna he embarked on a successful career playing concerts around the world, composing music for movies and humans.
Igudesman writes a lot of music. He has known to start and finish works before breakfast. Which may be less impressive in light of the fact that he sometimes eats breakfast in the evening. His compositions are published by Universal Edition and have been performed worldwide by soloists, ensembles and orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony Orchestra, often with his participation as a solo violinist and conductor.
Igudesman has written for and performed as a soloist on several movie soundtracks. He has worked particularly closely with Academy Award-winning film composer Hans Zimmer on numerous movies, including “Sherlock Holmes” which received an Oscar nomination for the Best Original Score.
Igudesman’s commissions in 2018 include a whole evening of music for the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, a piece for two violins and orchestra for Vadim Repin and Clara-Jumi Kang, and a work for violin solo and 100 violinists for Daniel Hope, as well as numerous publications on Universal Edition and Modern Works.
Apart from touring extensively around the world with Igudesman & Joo, he performs his solo show “Fasten Seat Belts”.
Aleksey Igudesman has directed, produced and starred in the feature-length comedy/documentary “Noseland”, featuring, among others, Julian Rachlin, John Malkovich and Sir Roger Moore. Noseland has been premiered in 14 festivals around the world and won the “Most Entertaining Documentary” award at the Doc Miami International Film Festival.
Igudesman created and tours in 2018/19 with “The Music Critic” – a sardonic mix of the most evil music critiques of the last centuries written about some of the greatest works of music.
John Malkovich slips into the role of the evil critic who believes the music of Beethoven, Chopin, Prokofiev (and the likes) to be weary and dreary.
Aleksey Igudesman is the co-founder of ‘Music Traveler’, an app and online platform which allows musicians to book practice rooms anywhere any time.
Hyung-ki Joo was born. He is British, but looks Korean, or the other way around, or both.
On the Internet, related searches for #Hyung-ki_Joo include: #Composer, #Pianist, #Conductor, #InspiringStudents, #YouTubeSensation, #KaratePiano, #FastestToothbrusherInTheWorld, #WatchedMissionImpossibleEightTimesInARow, #TaylorSwift’sSecretAsianFantasy, #Pomegranate, and #Aadvark. Hyung-ki, pronounced forever, YOUNG-KEY with an “H” in front, is also the only Korean Jew, (spelt J-O-O), in the world.
He started piano lessons at the age of eight and a quarter, and two years later won a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School. There, he discovered that he was among geniuses and child prodigies and was convinced he would be kicked out of the school. In the end, he was never kicked out but teachers and fellow students, such as Aleksey Igudesman, did kick him around in various parts of his anatomy, making the future of any offspring rather bleak. No matter how difficult those seven years at the school may have been, it only strengthened his love of music, and a while after graduation, he was chosen by Yehudi Menuhin himself to perform as soloist for his eightieth birthday concert at the Barbican Hall, London. You can see a tiny clip of them rehearsing on Hyung-ki Joo’s YouTube Channel: Joo rehearses Beethoven with Menuhin (link for the Web) Joo rehearses Beethoven with Menuhin
As a composer his works have been performed by orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and London Philharmonic, Komische Oper Berlin, recorded by artists such as Shani Diluka and the Ahn Piano Trio, and his music is published by Universal Edition and Modern Works.
His love of chamber music led to founding a piano trio with violinist Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne and cellist Thomas Carroll. Their seven years together culminated in a critcally acclaimed recording of the Brahms and Bridge Piano. Other chamber music partners have included Renaud Capuçon, Martin Fröst, Janine Jansen, Dame Felicity Lott, Mischa Maisky, Julian Rachlin, Radovan Vlatkovic, the Belcea Quartet and members of the Alban Berg, Meta4, and Ebène String Quartets.
Hyung-ki has small hands, (but only hands small), and therefore finds some piano repertoire quite difficult to play, such as the music of Rachmaninov, who had Big Hands. Check out Rachmaninov Had Big Hands on YouTube.
(Link for web: Rachmaninov Had Big Hands- BIGGER Version)
Nevertheless, Billy Joel, the singer-songwriter legend and Piano Man himself chose Hyung-ki to arrange and record his final album, “Fantasies and Delusions,”- an album of solo piano pieces written as an homage to the classical style. The album stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 18 solid weeks.
Through his Beyond the Practice Room workshops, Joo helps fellow musicians explore less-chartered areas in musical education. And in addition to performing and composing, Joo plans to devote a significant portion of his time conducting and working with youth and student orchestras.