IGUDESMAN & JOO — A unique collaboration

Alek­sey Igudes­man and Hyung-ki Joo are two clas­si­cal musi­cians who have taken the world by storm with their unique and hilar­i­ous the­atri­cal shows, which com­bine com­edy with clas­si­cal music and pop­u­lar cul­ture. Their clips on YouTube, to date, have gath­ered over 28 mil­lion hits, and the duo has appeared on tele­vi­sion in numer­ous coun­tries. Equally com­fort­able per­form­ing in clas­si­cal con­cert halls, as well as in sta­di­ums in front of crowds of 18,000, their col­lec­tive dream is to make clas­si­cal music acces­si­ble to a wider and younger audience.

Alek­sey and Hyung-ki met at the age of twelve, at the Yehudi Menuhin School, in Eng­land, and since then, have remained strong friends and writ­ing part­ners. In 2004, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of lumi­nar­ies such as Vic­tor Borge and Dud­ley Moore, they cre­ated their first ground­break­ing show, “A Lit­tle Night­mare Music”. Since then, they have per­formed as a duo, and as soloists, with cham­ber and sym­phony orches­tras at many of the world’s biggest stages and fes­ti­vals.
Many of clas­si­cal music’s biggest names, such as Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Janine Jansen, Gidon Kre­mer, Mis­cha Maisky, Vik­to­ria Mullova, and Julian Rach­lin, have joined them in their musi­cal sketches. Alek­sey and Hyung-ki have also teamed up with actors, such as John Malkovich, and for­mer James Bond, Sir Roger Moore, on sev­eral occa­sions in aid of UNICEF.

Indi­vid­u­ally, Alek­sey Igudes­man has worked with musi­cians rang­ing from Acad­emy® Award-winning Hol­ly­wood com­poser, Hans Zim­mer, to multi Grammy® Award-winning vocal­ist, Bobby McFer­rin. Hyung-ki Joo, has worked with Acad­emy® Award-winning com­poser, Van­ge­lis, and was cho­sen by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Billy Joel, to arrange and record Joel’s clas­si­cal com­po­si­tions on a CD, which reached no.1 on the Bill­board Charts.

Igudes­man & Joo can be seen in sev­eral films, includ­ing their own “Mock­u­men­tary”, “Every­thing You Always Wanted to Know About Clas­si­cal Music”.

Besides tour­ing “A Lit­tle Night­mare Music”, they also per­form “BIG Night­mare Music”, with sym­phony orches­tras, and lead their work­shop “8 To 88 — Musi­cal Edu­ca­tion for Chil­dren of All Ages” at uni­ver­si­ties and music schools around the world, leav­ing stu­dents inspired and con­fi­dent to break new grounds for their own musi­cal journeys.

On New Year’s Eve, 2011, at the Vienna Konz­erthaus, with the help of 100 vio­lin­ists from all over the world, Igudes­man & Joo set the world record for the most “Danc­ing Vio­lin­ists” per­form­ing together on stage. The world record was con­ceived and pro­duced by the duo in aid of UNICEF.

ALEKSEY IGUDESMAN

Alek­sey Igudes­man was born in Leningrad at a very young age. He has never won any com­pe­ti­tions, mainly because he has never entered any. Dur­ing his stud­ies at the pres­ti­gious Yehudi Menuhin School, he read the entire plays of Bern­hard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and Anton 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 with Boris Kuschnir at the Vienna Con­ser­va­toire and being told many times by many peo­ple that they were rather wor­ried about his future, he embarked on a suc­cess­ful career play­ing, com­pos­ing, and arrang­ing for his string trio, “Tri­ol­ogy”, record­ing sev­eral CD’s for BMG, work­ing in Hol­ly­wood with Acad­emy Award® win­ner Hans Zim­mer, and per­form­ing with Bobby McFer­rin, Julian Rach­lin, Janine Jansen, Sir Roger Moore, John Malkovich, and other peo­ple who are less famous, but just as great.

Alek­sey Igudes­man writes a lot of music. Often he goes to bed writ­ing and gets up writ­ing. He some­times feels a lit­tle inse­cure about his music, although it is pub­lished by Uni­ver­sal Edi­tion, and tries to com­pen­sate for it by being rather extro­vert. In fact, his psy­chi­a­trist tells him that he is inse­cure about a lot of things. Alek­sey is not so sure about that.

Back at school he met his “IGUDESMAN & JOO” part­ner, Hyung-ki Joo. After a few ini­tial small dif­fer­ences, result­ing in sev­eral peo­ple hold­ing them both back from smash­ing chairs and music stands on each other’s heads, Joo offered Igudes­man some fish and chips, which he sim­ply could not refuse. This in turn led to col­lab­o­ra­tion over many years, which cul­mi­nated in the cre­ation of “A Lit­tle Night­mare Music”, a show they tour together mak­ing peo­ple laugh.

Alek­sey Igudes­man plays with a bow made by the Boston-based bow­maker, Benoit Roland, and on a Santo Seraphin vio­lin from the year 1717, which is kindly loaned to him by ERSTE BANK.
www.alekseyigudesman.com

HYUNG-KI JOO

Hyung-ki Joo was born. He is British, but looks Korean, or the other way around, or both. He showed his first signs of a sense of com­edy whilst nappy-changing and shortly there­after, showed his love for music when his par­ents would find him at the record store lis­ten­ing for hours to every­thing from Mozart to Bee Gees. (Although the two are never to be con­fused, Hyung-ki is often heard singing “Don Gio­vanni” in the style of Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees).
He started piano lessons at the age of eight and a half 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 school, year after year. In fact, he was not kicked “out” but kicked “around” by teach­ers and fel­low stu­dents, such as Alek­sey Igudes­man. After these painful expe­ri­ences, Joo invented a new type of piano play­ing known as “Karate Piano”. No mat­ter how dif­fi­cult his years at the school may have been, it only strength­ened his love of music, and he also realised that the world of clas­si­cal music had lit­tle to do with the spirit in which the music was cre­ated and so began dream­ing of a way to bring this great music to a wider and newer audi­ence– a dream which has been realised through his show: “IGUDESMAN & JOO: A Lit­tle Night­mare Music”.
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. Any­way, even with this small hin­drance, he hap­pily per­forms cham­ber music, recitals, con­cer­tos, his own com­po­si­tions, and any­thing else that includes a piano part. Besides com­pos­ing, per­form­ing, laugh­ing, brush­ing his teeth at break­neck speed, and writ­ing com­edy, Joo’s pas­sion for teach­ing has led him to develop his own per­sonal style of workshops.

www.hyungkijoo.com

Stun­ning to hear in con­cert– he is a vir­tu­oso” PAUL SIMON


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