Review | The Piano Guys Begins Tour with Heart

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“In a world where classical music hangs in the balance”, The Piano Guys are making their way from the deserts of Palm Springs, California to Australia this week. Their style is as quizzical as their name suggests: upbeat classical music-based mashups played in front of full visuals of  imaginary superheroes and travel videos, sometimes in the depth of artificial snow on stage. They espouse that classical music is the ancestor of all music. It is woven throughout their repertoire albeit in their unique sound and style.

What you missed?

In Palm Springs their repertoire included arrangements of Bach Suite No. 1 Prelude (the “cello song”), Beethoven’s Fur Elise, Chopin, Mozart Twinkle Sonata, Pachelbel’s Canon and Vivaldi Four Seasons.  Compositions. instruments and clothing of the 1700’s were paired with the 1900’s. A guest appearance by a  local youth group playing violins, and Scottish bagpipers capped the program.

Never skipping a beat, The Piano Guys released 2 CDs  during the pandemic, yet the feel of live performance decidedly adds a dimension where the Piano Guys truly shine as entertainers and inventors. The pianist performed Twinkle upside down on the piano bench, using  his toes and elbow glissando up and down the keyboard.

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The cellist used a kick drum, 3 celli- (a traditional wood that is 100 years old, a carbon fibre cello for slapping and an electric 5-stringed cello with a pickup under the bridge to catch vibrations and project pizzicati and to link to a mouthpiece)  and a loop pedal that records so as to create the effect of multiple celli.  During the performance he attached a mouth tube to one of his celli, slapping the front panel of the carbon fibre instrument, co-ordinating with the kick drum, jazzing up classical arrangements with visuals, and casting all formality to the wayside.

The Piano Guys have performed live on beaches, speeding trains, the Great Wall of China, the pyramids of Mexico–and are well on their way to achieving their objective of travelling to the 7 wonders of the world. Their forte has been returning the experiences to multi-generational audiences on traditional stages. What began in Palm Springs with visuals of imaginary superheros ended with real stories of superhero kindness.

On the whole, a “feel good” post-pandemic program, communicated live and pre-recorded, and delivered from heart to heart, a testimony to the universality and timeliness of classical music.


About Author

Andrea Rush B.Mus, L.Mus. LLM. , R.M,T. , Dipl. D’etudes theoriques graduated from the Conservatoire de Que., ( premiere medaille) and McGill University, after studying ( on full scholarship ) with pianists Dorothy Morton, Irving Heller, Fleurette Beauchamp-Huppe Herman David and conductor Alexander Brott. She has guest lectured on music, computer technology and related legal issues at York University, OCAD, McGill and Stanford University. Andrea is a member of the American Musicological Society and the Music Critics Association of North America. She continues as a member of the string section of various community orchestras in Toronto.

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