Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Q-and-A: Goofy classical musicians Igudesman & Joo to play Eisemann Center in Richardson Saturday
Anyone over the age of 88, this isn't for you.
RICHARDSON If you could mix Mozart with Monty Python, the result might be something similar to the duo Igudesman & Joo. These classically trained musicians from Vienna -- Aleksey Igudesman on violin and Hyung-ki Joo on piano -- combine classical and contemporary music with musical and situational comedy. They will be bringing their international show “A Little Nightmare Music” to the Eisemann Center in Richardson on January 28.
The two became friends at age 12 when they studied at England’s Yehudi Menuhin School. Since then, they’ve been re-setting the boundaries of classical music, most recently achieving a World Record for dancing violinists. We interviewed them about their upcoming show and the inspiration behind it.
PegNews: Can we expect any surprises or special guests in the show?
Joo: Well if we tell you then it won’t be a surprise.
Igudesman: The thing is, we often like to surprise each other. Even if I would say "Oh no, there are no surprises," I could be lying. Literally we’ve had shows where the other person wouldn’t know what’s happening. So we’ve had suddenly a couple of martial arts experts jumping on stage and doing a little routine which I didn’t know about. All sorts of madness can happen.
Have you ever made yourselves laugh on stage?
Joo: Oh yes, yes.
Igudesman: I think the day we stop doing that, we’ll stop the show.
Joo: Sometimes I crack up because I hear some kid laughing. I just find it very funny that there is a kid out there that’s actually getting what we’re doing.
Igudesman: ... Sometimes what happens is during applause, we’re bowing and people can’t hear ... We like to say things very quietly or turn around and give each other the middle finger or something, but just when nobody’s looking.
... Once we were on tour with an orchestra. It was in Taiwan. Sometimes we do the show in different languages. But like in Taiwan, we couldn’t learn Taiwanese just for it. But I did learn some special lines. I had the lines spread out on stage and written down on little pieces of paper. And the last show, Hyung-ki changed some of those letters around, and I ended up saying some really crazy stuff that I’m not going to repeat to you now. And the audience was laughing at my expense because I didn’t know what I was saying.
Igudesman & Joo: Riverdancing Violinist
What brought you together when you were young?
Joo: A love of music and also dissatisfaction with the way the music we love was being presented -- the whole over-seriousness about the ceremony surrounding classical music.
Igudesman: Basically we are passionate about music. But we also love the theater and we love comedy, obviously. We always thought that the somber atmosphere, resembling more of a funeral rather than a celebration in concert halls, was really out of place. We are doing a kind of Renaissance revival -- bringing classical music more towards entertainment without trying to lose any of its artistic ties.
Do you feel like you’re keeping with the spirit in which the pieces were created?
Igudesman: Definitely. A lot of the composers were very humorous people. As well, a lot of the music was humorous. Nowadays if somebody laughs in a concert hall because of a piece of music -- which we used to do as kids because we loved and understood it -- people turn around to you and think you’re a complete weirdo. I’m not going to deny that we are complete weirdos, but who says that’s a bad thing? We’d like to turn more people into weirdo geeks who go and follow classical music with a passion.
Does the show’s humor translate well in other countries?
Igudesman: The humor that arises from things going wrong is something we love to do. So that translates pretty much everywhere. The funny thing is, though, people laugh at different places because the sense of humor of different countries is different. Our audience tends to be very mixed ages, also.
Joo: We say that our show is for 8 to 88, so it’s for all age ranges. We of course don’t accept 89-year-olds. That’s really too old.
Is this your first time through Texas?
Igudesman: I think it is our debut there, so we’ve got the cowboy hats ready to go. We don’t have the boots yet. So that’s the first thing we’ll do is buy boots.
Is there anything you’d like to see in Dallas?
Igudesman: What we will definitely inspect is some of your amazing steak and ribs places. We are both very much foodies.
Igudesman and Joo will gladly accept recommendations for local restaurants via Facebook or Twitter. Click here to win tickets to the show.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Assignment Desk, DFW
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