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2013: A conversation with Igudesman & Joo

– What led you to combine classical music with humour?

– When we were studying at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England, we both felt that the world of classical music was taking itself way too seriously. Going to a concert often resembled a funeral rather than being a celebration of life, and while a lot of music is serious and tragic, the whole ceremony surrounding classical music need not be so serious and elitist. This is one of the main reasons why so many people, and especially so many young people, are afraid of going to classical concerts and we dreamed of changing this. Any parent or kid who might be terrified of this music will never be scared again after coming to one of our shows. And partly it was just to annoy our strict teachers, which we were masterful at.

– Do you make it more appealing to young audiences by making fun of classical music?

– We are both serious classical musicians and we love music passi­onately. We are never making fun of classical music – We are having fun with classical music. What we do make fun of is the whole business and ceremony surrounding classical music and how we musicians take ourselves so seriously. And another very important distinction for us is that the music always comes first, and next, comes the humour. But before all of that comes food.

– Have you come across disapproval from the Classical Music world?

– On the contrary – many of our core supporters come from the professional world of music, ranging from teachers, agents, critics, and the musicians themselves. We’ve also had support from out­side the field of music and we have performed with actors John Malkovich, and Sir Roger Moore. The only person that did not un­derstand our show was Wagner ... but that might be because he is dead. As Mark Twain once said, “Wagner’s music is better than it sounds”.

– Does one need to know about classical music to enjoy and un­derstand your shows?

– Firstly, you don’t need to know anything about classical music to enjoy classical music. Our typical audience and fans range from kids to their grandparents and include the regular concertgoers as well as people who have never been to a concert hall in their lives. In our shows, we always write on at least two levels, so that when there is a joke for the musical connoisseurs, there is something else happening at the same time for those who have never even heard of Mozart. For us, music is for everyone.

– Are your shows appealing to the masses due to its crossover nature?

– We make no distinction between types of music. For us all music comes from the same place. We don’t like the term “crossover”, as it implies that there was a border that had to be crossed. We ourselves listen to both types of music, Country AND Western.

– Who are your influences?

– Monty Python is definitely one of our greatest influences. We have so many inspirations the list is endless. From the comedians, certainly Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Marx Brothers, Steve Martin, Rowan Atkinson, Sasha Baron Cohen, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Larry David, and so many more. But if we had to mention just a few, probably we would have to pick the ones who did comedy with music, such as Victor Borge, Dudley Moore, Spike Jones, PDQ Bach, and Glenn Gould, who was not only one of the greatest musicians of all time, but did a lot of things with humor.

– How would you describe your show in one sentence?

– If we had to describe it in one sentence, we would say “Monty Python meets Mozart, or South Park meets Bach.” For those who don’t know who Monty Python is, they should look it up. For those who don’t know who Mozart is, they should go to school.

– Do you still play serious classical music?

– We are always playing “serious” classical music, whenever we can, in fact our shows always have pieces of classical music perfor­med totally straight without any jokes of any kind. A very important distinction for us is that the music always comes first, and next, comes the humour. We also never differentiate between so-called “serious” and “non-serious” music. For us, all music is valid, and it all comes from the same place.



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23 May - 06 June 2018
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Calendar
23 May - 06 June 2018
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