Amanda Sheppard talks to 2Cellos, the Croatian cellists shaking up the world of classical music, ahead of their Hong Kong debut
Sitting down to a performance by two cellists, you’d expect a high calibre evening that is, for want of a better word, relatively tame. Queue 2Cellos – Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser – here to debunk any and every expectation you may have had about a classical instrumental performance. The two have embarked on a world tour that spans Europe, Asia and the Americas, and are performing in Hong Kong on July 14.
Sulic and Hauser, who both took up cello at an early age, are classically trained musicians who aspire to break the boundaries that exist as a result of compartmentalising music into separate genres. They explain, “We trained very seriously and practiced very hard since we were little kids and played only classical music until 2011 when 2CELLOS was formed.”
Now signed to the Sony Masterworks label, the YouTube sensations, whose videos have garnered more than 187 million hits, rose to fame with covers of rock classics including Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. Their latest album, Celloverse, boasts covers of popular tracks including Avicii’s Wake Me Up and Muse’s Hysteria. The duo have scarcely been off the radar, and have appeared on popular American television shows including Glee and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.
Covering an iconic pop song is risky; covering them ad hoc on cellos is an entirely different ball game. It does, however, appear to be a risk that continues to pay off. 2Cellos have developed a loyal fan base of critics, audience members and celebrities alike, including Elton John, who invited them to join him on tour in 2011. Of the occasion, they recount, “It was such a big honour to share the stage with an icon. What an amazing experience – to play for thousands of people in the biggest arenas and stadiums all over the world!” Elton John has continued to champion the duo, who affirm that the collaboration cemented a lifelong friendship.
Keeping the company of music royalty hasn’t gone to their heads, however. They are adamant that it is the power of the internet that has paved their path to success. On the impact of YouTube and social media, they vehemently reply, “[It has changed the industry] completely! It is much more democratic now.” According to Sulic and Hauser, the internet allows for a level playing field, granting those from humble beginnings a chance to participate in the international realm. They explain, ‘everyone has a chance to share their talent with the world now. If you are creative enough, you’ll catch people’s attention’.
Sulic and Hauser are not the first to blend the realm of classical music with contemporary pop and rock, but there are few who have executed such a feat so seamlessly. For the duo, this was a relatively straightforward decision. “It’s a simple formula,” apparently. “We play the songs that we like.” They continue, “It’s all spontaneous, we feel from the beginning who should play which part – it’s all down to the strong chemistry between us!”
Their namesake instrument, they tell us, is one that is ‘universal’ and need not be relegated to the confines of a singular genre of music
. “We don’t like dividing music into different categories. The cello has so many different possibilities that people are not really aware of.” If they were unaware before, with their Hong Kong debut around the corner, people are soon to find out.
Source: Time Out Hong Kong
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