A slightly unusual bio for a very unusual man
Aleksey Igudesman was born in Leningrad at a very young age. He is known as a violinist, composer, conductor, comedian, film maker, actor, writer, poet and entrepreneur, but his secret passion is cooking, eating out in luxurious restaurants and writing reviews on tripadvisor. He has never won any competitions, mainly because he has never entered any. During his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School, he read the entire plays of Shaw, Wilde and Chekhov, which didn’t improve his violin playing, but made him feel foolishly somewhat superior to other less intellectually endowed, yet harder practising, colleagues. After studying the violin with acclaimed pedagogue Boris Kuschnir in Vienna he embarked on a successful career playing concerts around the world, composing music for movies and humans.
Aleksey Igudesman plays on a Santo Seraphin violin from the year 1717, which is kindly loaned to him by ERSTE BANK. His string of choice are by Thomastik-Infeld.
Igudesman writes a lot of music. He has known to start and finish works before breakfast. Which may be less impressive in light of the fact that he sometimes eats breakfast in the evening. His compositions are published by Universal Edition and have been performed worldwide by soloists, ensembles and orchestras, such as the New York Philharmonic and Vienna Symphony Orchestra, often with his participation as a solo violinist and conductor.
Igudesman has written for and performed as a soloist on several movie soundtracks. He has worked particularly closely with Academy Award-winning film composer Hans Zimmer on numerous movies, including “Sherlock Holmes” which received an Oscar nomination for the Best Original Score.
Igudesman’s commissions in 2018 include a whole evening of music for the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, a piece for two violins and orchestra for Vadim Repin and Clara-Jumi Kang, and a work for violin solo and 100 violinists for Daniel Hope, as well as numerous publications on Universal Edition and Modern Works.
Apart from touring extensively around the world with Igudesman & Joo, he performs his solo show “Fasten Seat Belts”.
Aleksey Igudesman ha directed, produced and starred in the feature-length comedy/documentary “Noseland”, featuring, among others, Julian Rachlin, John Malkovich and Sir Roger Moore. Noseland has been premiered in 14 festivals around the world and won the “Most Entertaining Documentary” award at the Doc Miami International Film Festival.
Igudesman created and tours in 2018/19/20 with “The Music Critic” – a sardonic mix of the most evil music critiques of the last centuries written about some of the greatest works of music.
Igudesman’s special projects
Aleksey Igudesman takes us to his homeland and then around the world with his own arrangements and humorous compositions for solo violin, and a stand-up like routine you’d never expect from a violinist. “I was born in St Petersburg at a very early age. Back then it was actually called Leningrad. And before that Petrograd. And before that Hetrograd, Metrograd, Sexograd and Rome. But that was a long time ago...” Igudesman takes a close look at the crazy world of classical music, and strips away all pretences to reveal the hidden secrets of music and comedy in their full nakedness. Through his batty sense of humour and his bizarre virtuosity, he brings up closer to what classical music was originally intended for - to entertain and enrich our lives and to lose weight. (in English, Russian or German)
The Other Seasons
"The Other Seasons”, or “4 Seasons, 12 Reasons and 24 Seasonings” is inspired by both Vivaldi and Piazzolla alike. Much like Vivaldi, Igudesman’s work is comprised of 3 movements for each season. Each movement has a “reason” for being there, some simply because “it’s fun” or because “it tastes good”.
Each “reason” additionally contains two musical “seasonings”, such as salt, paprika or even lemon grass. Playful, humorous, and deliciously original, Igudesman incorporates fragments of Vivaldi into his own composition. In other parts, Tango rhythms underline the virtuosic, yet extremely melodious solo violin part.
Vienna and I
Igudesman’s long - lasting relationship with Vienna is at the core of this exciting, traditional yet, at times, mischievous programme. He depicts his love for the city of music through his highly original and often humorous arrangements of well-known classics by Johann Strauss, Fritz Kreisler, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert and Gustav Mahler. Mahler’s magical Adagietto acquires an ethereal touch when the vibraphone replaces the harp and Strauss’s Vienna Blood Waltz gets the Igudesman treatment, adding a more edgy and irreverent touch to the legendary waltz.
Waltz of the World
When the entire audience gets to practise Yoga with the help of the William Tell Overture, Igudesman must be involved. Additionally, the extraordinary dancer Manaho Shimokawa performs a multi- stylistic, with choreography to the “Fledermaus” (The Bat) Overture by Johann Strauss
The central work of the performance is Igudesman’s “Waltz of the World”, which combines well-known classics, Celtic & Klezmer music with Tango, Salsa, Flamenco and a multitude of other styles. A choir chants an African song, while dancing to the Blue Danube Waltz in the style of a Samba.
The conceit itself is funny, but the fluid way in which the two men tossed the sticks back and forth to each other was hypnotic. There were further jaw-drop-ping acrobatics in Mr. Igudesman’s kung fu rendition of Kreisler’s “Tambourin Chinois”- itself a devilishly difficult piece-when he performed it standing on one leg, then with his bowing arm threaded under the raised thing, and finally with a bow that was clownishly short.
Igudesman and Joo are, in their own right, extremely talented concert artistes who, when they get together, produce the craziest, most hysterically funny music ever. Go see them. They are brilliant. Please believe me.My Word is my bond.
Since one clip is worth a thousand words, describing the Igudesman & Joo humor in detail would be to deflate its brilliance.