Pittsburgh Symphony Joins Igudesman & Joo for SCARY CONCERT Tonight

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PITTSBURGH - Experience a concert that is both bone-rattling and sidesplitting when Igudesman & Joo return to perform the conductor-less "Scary Concert" with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall tonight, October 31 and the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theater at West Virginia University on November 2.

Outlandish, ghoulish, hilarious and prodigiously talented, 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. Igudesman & Joo hilariously waltz their way from Mozart to martial arts, Haydn to hip hop with their unique wit, sensibilities and improvisational skills. 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 - and under this pair's spell, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and its audiences are in for a very special Halloween celebration.

"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. In "Danse Macabre," Igudesman appears, disappears and reappears, showing up anywhere on the stage all the while displaying dazzling technique in playing Saint-Säens' devilish work about a violinist who makes the dead rise from their graves. Equally unnerving, Joo tackles Ravel's "Le Gibet," a hauntingly beautiful piece about the corpse of a hanged man. "Decomposing Composers" pays tribute to those artists long dead, grateful they're no longer around to hear Igudesman's & Joo's rendition of the Michael Palin classic honoring those six feet under. In the same vein, pianist Joo tries to salute his performance partner in his composition "My Perfect Man," if only he could find a quality worthy of praise. "Tango del Diablo" is a diabolically difficult piece that Igudesman wrote and regrets that he made so hard because now he has to perform it. And the "Celebration Polka" is anything but joyful for Joo, who is forced to dash through the full spectrum of piano classics at breakneck speed.

Audience members and musicians alike are invited to come to the concert in costume to get into the "spirit" of Scary Concert. A costume contest with those in the audience in costume will be held before the second half of each concert, judged by Igudesman & Joo themselves! The winner will receive free tickets to an upcoming Pittsburgh Symphony concert.

Pittsburgh ticket information: The concert begins at 8 p.m. at Heinz Hall on October 31. Tickets, ranging in price from $25.75 to $65.75, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/scaryconcert.

Morgantown ticket information: Igudesman & Joo: Scary Concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Clay Concert Theater, WVU Creative Arts Center, in Morgantown on November 2. Tickets are $27 and $45 and can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900, or by visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/wvu. Student tickets are $13 per concert. Student tickets can be purchased at pittsburghsymphony.org/wvustudent. Beginning at 6 p.m. on the day of the concert, tickets may be purchased in the Clay Concert Theater lobby. Single tickets for Canady Symphony Series concerts are available at the WVU Creative Arts Center and Mountainlair Box Office this season during its normal business hours.

A pre-concert talk led by Assistant Conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong will begin at 6:30 p.m. from the Clay Concert Theater stage. The 2015-2016 title sponsors of the Canady Symphony Series at WVU are William and Loulie Canady in memory of Valerie.

About the Artists

The New York Times said of Igudesman & Joo's debut with the New York Philharmonic, "Their blend of classical music and comedy, laced with pop culture references and a wholly novel take on the word slapstick, is fueled by genuine, dazzling virtuosity." Nearly 40 million YouTube views have turned the virtuosity and inspired lunacy of musicians Igudesman & Joo into a global hit show.

Think Bach meets "The Simpsons," Mozart hijacked by Monty Python and you have some idea of the mayhem created at the highest level of musicianship on worldwide stages -- and immortalized on YouTube -- by violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo, two classically-trained artists who bring an uproarious, sidesplitting approach to the concert performance. For them, the mix of music, comedy, pop culture and theatre is its own art form.

Igudesman & Joo's believe that classical music should be fun and accessible to a wide audience, so they subvert it whenever they're on stage. Their performances offer a universal mix of intellectual humor and physical comedy, inside jokes for aficionados and timeless humor for everyone. They borrow heavily from pop culture, combining pop songs with classical music and playing instruments with unorthodox devices, from samurai infused musical comedy to playing Beethoven with karate hammer chops to an epic mash-up of Mozart and James Bond. Musical boundaries evaporate as the comedy escalates. And the audience is in hysterics. Yet, while their spin may be irreverent, they always treat the music with the utmost respect. And their audiences reflect their success - sell-out crowds of all ages and backgrounds, many new to concert halls.

In October, Igudesman & Joo are embarking on the first leg of two huge multi-city 2015-2016 U.S. tours with performances of their show And Now Mozart and in two cities only, Scary Concert.

The duo are also passionate about their unique and unconventional workshops "8 to 88 - Musical Education for Children of All Ages," which is in huge demand at universities around the world. Their breakthrough music program, which includes a mini performance, encourages participants to loosen up and leave their inhibitions behind.

They bring the same passion to their outside projects. Igudesman & Joo also perform as soloists, both in well-known concertos and in their own orchestral works. They have been commissioned to compose music by numerous distinguished orchestras around the world. The New York Philharmonic commissioned the duo to compose a piece they titled "Ring in The Classics." For the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's commission they composed "An Austrian in America." The Dusseldorf Symphony commissioned the duo to write "Concerto Fantastique" for piano and violin.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world's finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004). This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" in 1944 and John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series "Previn and the Pittsburgh." The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900-including 36 international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America-the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.

Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts is owned and operated by Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is the year-round home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The cornerstone of Pittsburgh's Cultural District, Heinz Hall also hosts many other events that do not feature its world-renowned orchestra, including Broadway shows, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org

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