About IGUDESMAN & JOO
Millions of YouTube viewers can’t be wrong. Well, they can, but in this case they aren’t. On the contrary, with more than 50 million clicks, they’ve turned the inspired lunacy of musicians IGUDESMAN & JOO into an internet and international sensation. In their unique and hilarious theatrical shows, Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo combine humour, classical music and allusions to pop culture. They’ve performed with some of the world’s most famous orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the L.A. Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, to name but a few.
Equally at home in classical concert halls as in 18,000-seat stadiums, IGUDESMAN & JOO’s infectious zaniness and virtuosity has also inspired millions of college and high-school students, bringing a younger and wider audience to classical music at this challenging time for the industry.
Aleksey and Hyung-ki met at the age of twelve at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England, where they became friends over a portion of fish and chips. In 2004, following in the footsteps of luminaries Victor Borge and Dudley Moore, they began to create their ground-breaking shows. Since then, many of the world’s most renowned musicians have asked to be part of their musical mayhem, including Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Ray Chen, Janine Jansen, Gidon Kremer, Viktoria Mullova, Vasily Petrenko, Julian Rachlin, and Yuja Wang. The two have also teamed up with John Malkovich, on the CD album, “You Just Have to Laugh” and Igudesman’s show, “The Music Critic” which they still regularly tour, as well as the former James Bond, Sir Roger Moore, with whom the duo has collaborated on several occasions for UNICEF.
As composers, IGUDESMAN & JOO have collectively released over 50 publications with Universal Edition and their works are played by musicians and children all over the world. They’ve received commissions from various orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Düsseldorf Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Tonhalle-Orchestra Zürich, New York Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra.
Individually, Aleksey Igudesman has worked with Academy®Award-winning Hollywood composer, Hans Zimmer, and Hyung-ki Joo was commissioned 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.
Hans Zimmer and Billy Joel not only admire the pair as serious musicians, but they also endorse them as entrepreneurs through “Music Traveler” – a platform and mobile app, conceived by Igudesman, which enables musicians to book rehearsal rooms and concert venues around the world. The duo also founded the production company “Only Hands Small Productions” in order to create original content for film and television.
In addition, many shows of IGUDESMAN & JOO can be watched on the streaming platform, “Music Traveler TV”, a platform that enables musicians to stream their concerts and performances to a wider audience.
In addition to their own productions, IGUDESMAN & JOO appear in numerous films, including the mockumentary, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Classical Music, Pianomania, Breaking Beethoven, and the award-winning Noseland.
Along with touring their duo shows- A Little Nightmare Music, AND NOW MOZART, Play it Again, And Now Beethoven– as well as shows with symphony orchestras such as- BIG Nightmare Music, UpBeat, Happy Concert, Beethoven’s Nightmare and others- IGUDESMAN & JOO also enjoy leading workshops and master classes while on the road. These encounters aim to leave students confident and inspired to break new grounds for the next generation’s own musical journeys.
In autumn 2019, IGUDESMAN & JOO ventured into completely new territory with the publication of their first book. Save the World was released on 5.10.2019 by the Austrian publisher, edition-a, and describes how the world can be saved with creativity and humour. Shortly thereafter, the book-inspired show Saving the World, was premiered at the Dortmund Konzerthaus and followed by a tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In 2020, the duo launched two shows celebrating their hero, Beethoven – And Now Beethoven and Beethoven’s Nightmare, the latter with orchestra, and these two shows are scheduled to be continually performed for seasons to come. Highlights from both shows were featured in the documentary, Breaking Beethoven, directed by Igudesman, and co-produced by German and Austrian television networks, WDR and ORF respectively, and the duo’s own media production company, Only Hands Small Productions.
Since 2021, IGUDESMAN & JOO are curators of a new concert series- STARs ‘n’ FREEKs– at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf. In these unique concerts, amazing talented musicians from all over the world, with special and often unusual skills, showcase their music, which in many cases, is only showcased on the streets or on the internet.
The recent cultural standstills did not hinder IGUDESMAN & JOO from continuing to create new shows and content, and currently in production are two programs, And Now Rachmaninov, as a duo show, and Rachmaninov Reloaded with orchestra to celebrate the big birthday of the genius Rachmaninov in 2023, and a new show teaming up with two queens of musical virtuosity, multi-percussionist and composer Lucy Landymore, and pianist and vocalist, Yu Horiuchi, for the show, Mambo Jambo.
One can also tune into their livestream broadcast, How to Fail & Succeed, with new episodes every month on their YouTube Channel, Facebook and Music Traveler TV.
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.