Classical musicians play the traditional out of Mozart

Delores Flynn
Special to The Detroit News

The stage at the Max M. Fisher Music Center will be set up for a classical piano and violin concert Monday evening. When Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-Ki Joo pick up their instruments anything but the traditional will occur as they mix music, comedy and theatre for a show like none other.

“It’s ‘South Park’ meets Bach, or Monty Python meets Mozart,” Joo said.

The group Igudesman & Joo formed 11 years ago and will bring its “And Now Mozart” show to Detroit as part of a 16-city U.S. tour.

Joo said when he and Igudesman were younger they thought concerts were “way too stuffy.”

“It seemed as if the classical music world was taking itself way too seriously,” Joo said during a telephone interview while on the road last week. “We vowed that when we got older we’d create a concert we would want to attend.”

The classically trained pair have known each other since age 12, and embrace all music as evidence in their concerts which feature rap, country, heavy metal, rock and Latin music.

The Austrian duo combine pop culture, their love of music and influences from playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, and the creators of “Saturday Night Live” to create what many call “pure zaniness.” The musicians have attracted nearly 40 million views from their YouTube sketches and recently released the DVD “FUNtastic Duo.”

Monday’s two hour concert will feature pieces such as “Mozart Will Survive” in which the duo tries to imagine what Gloria Gaynor’s hit “I Will Survive” would have sounded like if Mozart had written it. During an homage to glam rock and heavy metal, “Gravity,” they will disassemble seemingly essential parts of the piano like the stick prop that opens the lid and a leg while having a jam session to a tune called “Do you believe in gravity?”

And a pretend musical navigation app will help violinist Igudesman through a performance in an ode to Siri and GPS systems.

“We want to make music fun. And we are adamant about not alienating our audiences,” said Joo.

Delores Flynn is a Royal Oak-based freelance writer.

And Now Mozart

Monday 7:30 p.m. at the Max M. Fisher Music Center

3711 Woodward Ave, Detroit

Tickets: $25-$85

Call: (313) 576-5111