Millions of YouTube viewers can't be wrong. Well, they can, but in this case they aren’t. On the contrary, with more than 45 million clicks, they’ve turned the inspired lunacy of musicians IGUDESMAN & JOO into a sensation, not only in the virtual world, but on stages around the globe.
In their unique and hilarious shows, Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo combine humour with classical music and allusions to pop culture. The pair are equally at home in classical concert halls as they are in 18,000 seat stadiums. They have played with the world’s biggest and most famous orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the L.A. Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, to name but a few.
The infectious zaniness and virtuosity of IGUDESMAN & JOO has succeeded in making college and high school students amongst their biggest fans, building a younger and wider audience for classical music at a critical time for the industry.
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 − including Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Janine Jansen, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Viktoria Mullova, Julian Rachlin, and Yuja Wang − have asked the duo to include them in their skits of musical mayhem. They have also teamed up with actors, including John Malkovich for their CD album You Just Have to Laugh and The Music Critic project, as well as former James Bond, the late Sir Roger Moore, who collaborated with the duo on several occasions in aid of UNICEF.
IGUDESMAN & JOO also compose their own film and concert music. Their works are published by Universal Edition and played by musicians and children all over the world. They have also received commissions from various orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Düsseldorf Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, New York Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic and Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a solo artist, Aleksey Igudesman has worked regularly with Oscar-winning Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer. Hyung-ki Joo was commissioned by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Billy Joel, to arrange and record Joel's solo piano compositions for a CD which reached number one on the Billboard charts.
IGUDESMAN & JOO have also appeared in several films, including Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Classical Music, Pianomania and Noseland, an award-winning film directed by Igudesman.
In addition to tours with their duo shows A Little Nightmare Music, And Now Mozart and Play it Again, and shows with symphony orchestras such as BIG Nightmare Music, UpBeat, Clash of the Soloists, Historical and Hysterical Guide to the Orchestra and others, IGUDESMAN & JOO also enjoy organising workshops and master classes. These encounters are inspiring for students, giving them confidence to explore new avenues in their own musical journeys.
In autumn 2019, IGUDESMAN & JOO wrote a book, “Rette die Welt”, which was published by edition-a in October 2019 and shows how the world can be saved with creativity and humour. The accompanying show, Die Rettung der Welt, was premiered in Germany at the Dortmund Konzerthaus and followed by a tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In commemoration of Beethoven Year 2020 IGUDESMAN & JOO will present two new programs: And Now Beethoven as a duo program, and an orchestral show, Beethoven's Nightmare, in collaboration with the Oslo Philharmonic and Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra. The premiere will take place in Oslo and the tour will include stops in Bonn and Istanbul.