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Visiting Artist Series: IGUDESMAN & JOO: UpBeat

  • Conservatory Concert Hall YST Conservatory Singapore, 117376 Singapore (map)


The utterly uproarious virtuosos violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-Ki Joo are at it again with their delightfully daft orchestral show “UpBeat.” A follow up to their “BIG Nightmare Music,” “UpBeat” takes audiences on a madcap musical ride with stops at every conceivable genre from Ravel to rock, from hip-hop beats to would you believe tee-hee-hees. 
The words “strike up the band”—or in this case orchestra—never had a more deliciously raucous meaning than when they signal the appearance of the pair, who do double duty as both conductors and soloists throughout “Upbeat.” Of course this being Igudesman & Joo, a baton quickly turns into “a weapon of mass conduction,” and the tug-of-war over who gets to give the initial upbeat has the concert off to a tumultuous start.

The orchestral merry-go-round span “Ring in the Classics,” Igudesman & Joo’s symphonic Nokia ringtone poem commissioned by the New York Philharmonic; “Winter Polka,” an epic exercise in coughing; “Horror Movie,” a brilliant paean to the creaky and crackling, the squeaks and squeals, sounds that frighten the living daylights out of filmgoers; “An Austrian in America” commissioned by the Pittsburg Symphony to honor its conductor Manfred Honeck…or at least they hoped it would; loop-the-loop with “Ride of the Oy Veykyries,” a lively, klezmer-infused version of Wagner’s most famous piece sure to have the grim German spinning in his grave;  “Rush Hour” where a Moscow traffic jam provides fodder; “You Just Have to Laugh,” a kaleidoscope of chuckles, guffaws, and ha-ha-has where the entire philharmonic gets the giggles singing along with the audience; and, as if Greece didn’t have enough woes, Igudesman tries his best to help the beleaguered country out in a schizophrenic finale “Zorba the Geek.” 


Alek­sey Igudes­man and Hyung-ki Joo are two clas­si­cal musi­cians who have taken the world by storm with their unique and hilar­i­ous the­atri­cal shows, which com­bine com­edy with classi­cal music and pop­u­lar cul­ture. Their clips on YouTube, to date, have gath­ered over 35 mil­lion hits, and the duo has appeared on tele­vi­sion in numer­ous coun­tries. Equally comfortable per­form­ing in clas­si­cal con­cert halls, as well as in sta­di­ums in front of crowds of 18,000, their col­lec­tive dream is to make clas­si­cal music acces­si­ble to a wider and younger audience.

Alek­sey and Hyung-ki met at the age of twelve, at the Yehudi Menuhin School, in Eng­land, and since then, have remained strong friends and writ­ing part­ners. In 2004, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of lumi­nar­ies such as Vic­tor Borge and Dud­ley Moore, they cre­ated their first ground­break­ing show, “A Lit­tle Night­mare Music”. Since then, they have per­formed as a duo, and as soloists, with cham­ber and sym­phony orches­tras at many of the world’s biggest stages and fes­ti­vals.

Many of clas­si­cal music’s biggest names, such as Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Janine Jansen, Gidon Kre­mer, Mis­cha Maisky, Vik­to­ria Mullova, and Julian Rach­lin, have joined them in their musi­cal sketches. Some of the world’s leading orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, have shared the stage with Igudesman & Joo for their show “BIG Nightmare Music”. Alek­sey and Hyung-ki have also teamed up with actors, such as John Malkovich, and for­mer James Bond, Sir Roger Moore, on sev­eral occa­sions in aid of UNICEF.

Igudesman & Joo can be seen in sev­eral films, includ­ing their own “Mock­u­men­tary”, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Clas­si­cal Music”.

Aleksey lgudesman plays with a bow made by the Boston-based bowmaker, Benoit Roland, and on a Santo Seraph in violin from the year 1717, which is kindly loaned to him by ERSTE BANK. Aleksey lgudesman plays on handmade strings by Thomastik lnfeld. Hyung-ki Joo is a Steinway Artist.

Aleksey lgudesman and Hyung-ki Joo wear clothing by CLEOFE FINATI - Haute Couture 100 % made in Italy.

YST Conservatory wishes to thank Mr Tan Kah Tee for supporting this event.


• $25 via SISTIC.
• All event information is correct at time of print.
• Out of respect for other concertgoers, no children under 6 years of age will be allowed admission.