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The Piano Guys sell out Jorgensen

By Emily Lewson
On March 30, 2014

YouTube hit-sensation The Piano Guys entertained a sold out crowd at the Jorgensen Cabaret on Friday, March 28. With just a piano and a cello, Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson mixed different music genres that span centuries. Their musical talent and stage presence had all audience members laughing and clapping along.
Started in 2011, the group's founder, Paul Anderson, looking for a creative way to sell pianos from his store, started The Piano Guys. Having recruited Schmidt, the pianist, and concurrently Nelson, the cellist, Anderson saw the potential and closed up shop by the end of that year. With The Piano Guys' popularity, Anderson didn't have time to sell pianos anymore. The group also includes music producer Al van der Beek and producer-videographer Tel Stewart. Together, these men have created a sensation.
In the past few months alone, The Piano Guys' success is incredible. They have performed on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "The Today Show." Their YouTube channel receives 500,000 new views a day. They have 440,000 fans on Facebook and they are selling out across the U.S. as well as throughout Europe.
It might be hard to imagine how a pianist and a cellist could create all this hype, but don't let the classical instruments confuse you. Schmidt and Nelson are not ordinary musicians. They reintroduce classical music by pairing it with current hits. Plus, their music videos put pianos in places pianos are not supposed to go, creating stunning views.
"Code Name Vivaldi" is the perfect example of their unique sound. By combining music from the "Bourne Identity" soundtrack with Vivaldi's Double Cello Concerto, the group creates an epic spy thriller theme song. The pairing video takes on the setting and feel of the Bourne movies. As a whole, the music and video are entertaining and unique; it captivates your full attention.
As exceptional as their video is, their show is equally impressive. The two sat and played their instruments, but it was more than that. Between songs, they would fight out their cello-piano rivalry, joking around with another. They'd tell stories that put the audience into fits of laughter. They'd imitate animal sounds with their instruments. Simply, the two clowned around, while making incredible music.
At one point, Schmidt and Nelson decided to have some fun. They played a mix of "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin; they named it "Don't Worry, Be Psycho." When combined, the songs sound like a new theme for an old horror film. It was daunting, and amazing.
As a whole, The Piano Guys had an easy-going, relatable attitude despite their otherworldly musical talents. They connected with the audience and won over Jorgensen when they announced the men's basketball win over Iowa State. Friday night at the Jorgensen Cabaret was a good night to be a UConn Husky.
 


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