A TwoSet Violin performance at Merkin Concert Hall, Kaufman Music Center, New York City. As part of the encore Brett Yang attempts to play Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso while hula hooping, with Eddy Chen accompanying on the piano.
Inspiration,  Performers

TwoSet Violin’s Comedy – A Gateway to Classical Music

In the hallowed world of classical music, where seriousness often takes center stage, Brett Yang and Eddy Chen, the dynamic duo behind TwoSet Violin, are rewriting the script. What began as a YouTube experiment has blossomed into a global sensation that seamlessly merges virtuoso violin performances with comedy.

Breaking Down Barriers in Classical Music

As former violinists with Australia’s leading orchestras, Yang and Chen embarked on this unconventional journey in late 2016 with a singular mission: to break down the barriers of classical music and invite more people in.

“I feel like our mission is very much, ‘how can we bring more people into the world of classical music?'” Chen, 30, shares with Australian Story. “How can we show this amazing and beautiful art form in a more fun, relaxed, entertaining way?”

Comedy + Violin Skills = Success

Their recipe for success? A dash of silliness combined with their impeccable violin skills. The result is a show that stands unparalleled in classical music, with jokes about the trials of endless practice, hula-hooping while playing Niccolo Paganini’s masterpieces, and even donning wigs to humorously mimic the great composers and violinists.

YouTube Creators

Starting as YouTube creators a decade ago, TwoSet initially attracted a niche audience of musicians and music enthusiasts seeking a breath of fresh air in the traditionally somber world of classical music. However, their unique approach began to resonate with a broader audience, including those who once abandoned musical instruments as too challenging or dull.

Now, with millions of fans spanning all age groups, TwoSet is on its second world tour, gracing renowned concert halls like the Lincoln Center in New York. Their performances are a symphony of musical prowess, comedy, and, of course, goofy laughter.

Global Influence

“We’ve never felt that energy in any classical music,” reminisces Yang, 31, about the thunderous applause and cheers during their New York performance.

Their impact extends beyond entertainment; they’ve been named the “greatest string-based content creators of our time” by the London Symphony Orchestra. Their 7.5 million subscribers across social media platforms attest to their global influence.

Challenges

 

However, fame has not come without its challenges. A parody video poking fun at a K-pop sensation triggered internet skirmishes, showcasing the power of TwoSet’s influence.

Yang and Chen’s journey from promising violinists in Australia to global disruptors of classical music is a tale of passion, risk-taking, and determination. Quitting coveted orchestra jobs, they took a leap of faith, bringing their act from the virtual realm to live audiences.

From YouTube to the Concert Stage

Their journey involved a unique approach to funding — a busking marathon in Sydney, where they played on the streets, live-streaming on Facebook, and enduring the challenges of weather and safety concerns. The fans not only enjoyed the impromptu performances but also contributed to their crowdfunding campaign, enabling TwoSet to embark on the first crowdfunded classical music world tour.

Collaboration with Hilary Hahn

Their success story caught the attention of violin virtuoso Hilary Hahn, who acknowledges their profound musical skills beneath the layers of humor. Hahn credits TwoSet with bringing people to classical music in a “very genuine way.”

As TwoSet Violin continues to conquer concert halls and hearts worldwide, their dream expands beyond personal success. No longer aspiring soloists, they aim to ensure classical music not only survives but thrives for generations to come.

Please Share

If you found the harmonious blend of classical music and comedy by TwoSet Violin intriguing, share this article and join the movement to make classical music more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Thank you for spreading the joy!

Source: ABC News – by Leisa Scott and Rebecca Armstrong – November, 12 2023

Brenda Neece, DPhil (Oxon), is a cellist, organologist, writer, and teacher specializing in the history of the cello.