The two artists forming this duo have a common aim – making classical music available to a younger and bigger audience. Both men met at Yehudi Menuhin School, an institution in England and became friends when they were twelve years old. Since then, they have not only stayed great friends but also writing partners. With celebrities like Dudley Moore and Victor Borge as their inspiration, they made a show titled ‘A Little Nightmare Music’ in 2004. This show was an instant hit. It became the starting point of their tours to festivals all around the world, including Bergen Festival, Yehudi Menuhin Festival, Lockenhaus, Verbier Festival, festivals run by Yuri Bashmet and Renault Capucon and even Saratoga Festival in New York. The program is full of enchanting music, great humor and is quite literally, genius. The intelligent and captivating show attracted both fans of classical music and the generation that’s usually a hesitant audience when it comes to the likes of Mozart. Today, they perform at some of the biggest festivals and stages and also with famous symphony orchestras all over the world. Their videos have received over 28 million views on YouTube and viewers find these clips unique, entertaining and hilarious.
Born in St. Petersburg, violinist Igudesman’s family migrated to Germany when he was six. His talent started showing at a very young age, winning him many Jugend Musiziert competitions and getting him accepted at Yehudi Menuhin, a prestigious music school. For nine years, from 1989 till 1998, he was taught by Boris Kuschnir at the Vienna Conservatory. Apart from leading orchestras and playing chamber music and solo concerts, he composes, arranges and plays for ‘Triology’, his string trio. This group has several recordings for BMG. Igudseman also writes music for documentaries and many of his compositions have been performed by artists from various countries. He has worked with Academy Award winner, Hans Zimmer and performed with other talented artists like Julian Rachlin, Bobby McFerrin, Sir Roger Moore, Janine Jansen and John Malkovich. His other comedy and music projects include ‘Who is Ivica Strauss’, ‘Johann and Aleksey’ and ‘Tandem’. He likes experimenting and mixing his music with Johann Strauss and has had Universal Edition publish his compositions. His plays a 1717 Santo Seraphin violin that Erste Bank has loaned to him.
Creator, composer and pianist of Igudesman and Joo, Joo was born in England to Korean parents and began his music training with Deta Tanyel and Peter Norris at Menuhin School. Later, at Manhattan School of Music, he earned both his bachelor and master degrees in music. Nina Svetlanova is his primary teacher and other teachers are Oleg Maisenberg and Richard Goode. He was chosen for arranging and recording Billy Joel’s piano pieces for ‘Fantasies and Delusions’. Recorded at Mozart-Hall, this album was quick to gain the first spot on Billboard charts where it stayed for over four months. He has worked as a soloist and performed with prodigies like Yehudi Menuhin, Daniel Raiskin, Sergiu Commissiona, Rumon Gamba and Andrey Andreev. In 2001, he also created a piano trio by the name of ‘Dimension’ with Thomas Carroll and Rafal Payne. He uses creativity to come up with shows integrating classical music and comedy. Legendary musician, Paul Simon, has applauded Joo in the words, “Stunning to hear in concert – he is a virtuoso.”
With its tours in the US, the duo has received a lot of press attention, including interviews and reviews by Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News and Los Angeles Times. Julian Rachlin’s words sums up the praise Igudesman and Joo received from both press and audiences alike, “Two top class musicians and perhaps the best entertainers I’ve ever seen. I laugh my head off every time I see them, at the same time as being torched by their wonderful musicianship. They got me, I’m a fan!” If you are also one, get your Igudesman and Joo tickets.