Leaves Audiences Howling with Laughter
The age-old question, can a concert be simultaneously bone rattling and sidesplitting now has an answer. As if Igudesman & Joo weren’t outlandish and ghoulish enough, they’re upping the ante with “Scary Concert,” a no-holds barred musical salute to the dark side that manages to tingle your spine and tickle your fancy. Under the pair’s spell, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has no choice but to give in and play along in special Halloween-themed performances from Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh on October 31 and at the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theater at West Virginia University on November 2.
Violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-Ki Joo are the wildly inventive comedy team whose YouTube sketches and musical mash ups have attracted close to 40 million viewers. Seriously talented musicians with the wit, sensibilities and improvisational bent that bring to mind Monty Python, “South Park,” “SNL,” and “Portlandia,” Igudesman & Joo hilariously waltz their way from Mozart to martial arts, Haydn to hip hop. By breaking down barriers between the stage, audiences and orchestra, their concerts roam several standard deviations from the classical norm. Anything can and usually does happen to the delight of enthusiastic fans worldwide.
Following in the tradition of their “Big Nightmare Music,” these masters of mayhem and mirth again commandeer a full-size symphony orchestra, whose members will channel their inner pirates, wizards and zombies and don costumes to match. “Halloween is a wonderfully zany holiday because it combines things that are really scary and really fun,” Igudesman says. “It’s a time to let the folly out, perfect for us.”
The Halloween homage mines the musical canon for the chilling and creepy as well as featuring the duo’s original works. “Horror Movie,” for example, is the violinist’s own brilliant paean to the creaky and crackling, the squeaks and squeals, sounds that frighten the living daylights out of filmgoers, but are sure to have listeners screaming in laughter.
What others say
“Describing the Igudesman & Joo humor in detail would be to deflate its brilliance. For the put-upon Igudesman, think Jack Benny and Jascha Heifetz rolled into one. For the zany Joo, try an unholy Chico Marx, Vladimir Horowitz and Jerry Lewis mash-up […] The Igudesman & Joo anthem is Gloria Gaynor’s ‘70s hit song “I Will Survive.” Igudesman begins it as if singing a Russian folk song, and he electrifies it by playing on the violin strings with an electric swizzle stick (on a priceless 1717 Santo Seraphin violin, no less). Ultimately, it survives – barely and hilariously — as an unclassifiable audience sing‐along. But the idea of surviving is also a serious business with these two miraculous performers“
“A Little Nightmare Music brings surrealism to the concert hall and takes its trousers down! Very musical, very engaging and very funny. A Big Hand for A Little Nightmare Music’s Big Hands.“