“Playful Talk” Show Hosts Igudesman and Joo Review – Rock Stars of Playful


Yana Reznik sure knows how to make a case to cable and broadcast networks that her cybercast talk show, “Playful Talk”, which aims to humanize classical music and make it accessible to a wide audience, needs a bigger home. 



In her quest, one can imagine glamorous Reznik saying to her mirror, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most playful of them all?” with the mirror responding “Get your old friends Igudesman and Joo.  You know that Yana!”.


Playful indeed!  Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-Ki Joo are charming merry pranksters whose friendship goes back to their days as child prodigies at the Yehudi Menuhin Music School in London, where it apparently took some time to transform Igudesman from one of Joo’s tormentors into the devoted friend he so clearly is today.   Youtube sensations, they seem to take turns being straight men for each other in their gags that all have a not so subtle subtext message to the classical music world of “Lighten Up!”.   One minute they are conflating Chopin with a a Russian song "Ochi Chernie" followed  up with "I will survive" using a medley of many different classical piecesand then as the madcap fun continues Joo is using pre-fab boards to hit the piano keys in ways that his small hands—and only his hands are small, he reminds—cannot. 



If you too cringe when a conductor gives the evil eye to enthusiastic audience members clapping at the wrong time then Igudesman and Joo are just your type of guys.  They are on a mission to remind the world that classical musicians were once the rock stars of their day and not the effete elite of a dying world. 


Mahler, Wagner, Hitler..” Igudesman quips.  He is referring to those who made classical music into stuffed shirt fare.  If his happy and playful clowning with Joo wasn’t still lingering in the air you just might have taken him seriously. 



Reznik, a classical pianist in her own right, added to the slapstick by setting up Igudesman and Joo for the likes of a tooth brushing contest and giving them joke gifts to help them deal with the discomforts of performance tours. 



Below, you can find the link to watch the whole episode.  If you like what you see, Reznik would no doubt want you tune in her website and give her suggestions or contacts to help get this show syndicated on nationwide broadcast outlets.  She says, “My dream is definitely to take it to an interested network/ channel/ cable etc. I think there isn't nearly enough cultural and fun programs available that showcase classical music in an entertaining and accessible way. Of course everything is on YouTube but one must really know what to search for to begin with. So before season 2 takes place we really need to regroup and figure out what our next step should be. After 7 shows we definitely have a lot of material to present and pitch to networks.”

Leaving the intimate Pianoforte Studios where the show was being recorded before an audience of 120 or so, one couldn’t help but feel that “Playful Talk” was a much better venue to soak up Igudesman and Joo’s talents than at the Ravinia concert they were to give later that week in Chicago. 


Let’s hope that even if Reznik lands the big enchilada network for her show she’ll keep the taping venue in the South Loop Pianoforte Studios.  To find out more about Season 2, both to attend live performances and/or to watch from your computer, visit the Yana Reznik website.


Here is the recording of the entire episode—





Photos courtesy of Yana Reznik


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