Pop Culture & Classical Music Collide In Concert

Aleksey Igudesman (left) and Hyung-ki Joo bring their show
PHOTO COURTESY JULIA WESELY - Aleksey Igudesman (left) and Hyung-ki Joo bring their show "A Little Nightmare Music" to the Barnstable Performing Arts Center on April 19.

Cape Cod Symphony Presents is featuring Igudesman & Joo: “A Little Nightmare Music” on Saturday, April 19, at 7:30 PM at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center.

The two met at the Yehudi Menuhin music school in England when they were 12. Their first performance? The schools’ Christmas Cabaret.

Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo are both serious musicians, but are hardly ever serious. Their mutual love of classical music led to a partnership where anything (and anyone) is fair game.

In 2004, following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Victor Borge and Dudley Moore, they created their first groundbreaking show called, “A Little Nightmare Music.” From Gloria Gaynor to James Bond, “A Little Nightmare Music” is where pop culture and classical music collide. The violinist falls asleep and wakes up transformed into a “Riverdancer,” The pianist loses his hand and can only unlock his piano by inserting a credit card.

The two musicians originally conspired to bring more attention to the classical music they both knew and loved, and since posting their first two videos on YouTube in 2006, their antics have garnered the attention of over 30 million viewers. The duo is building a younger audience for classical music.

“We always say that we don’t make fun of the music. We make fun with the music,” said Mr. Igudesman, adding that Mozart was famous for being hilarious.

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At the start of this year, Mr. Igudesman told the Los Angeles Times, “We were always surprised at how a lot of classical concerts were so dreadfully stiff in their atmosphere. Not the music—the music was exciting. But very often, when you entered a concert hall, you felt like you were entering some sort of funeral parlor.”

Equally comfortable performing in classical concert halls and in stadiums, many of classical music’s biggest names, including Emanual Ax and Joshua Bell, have joined them in their musical sketches. They have also teamed up with actors such as John Malkovich and former James Bond, Sir Roger Moore.

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

The Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jung-Ho Pak are not part of this performance.

To purchase tickets, visit capesymphony.org or call 508-362-1111.

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