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Interview:
The Piano Guys keep maintain their mash of classical and pop
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Beethoven, Bach, Brahms and the great composers aren't around to say what they think of YouTube sensation the Piano Guys mashing up their music with contemporary pop hits. But the duo has certainly heard from the latter category.

"We had some great feedback from some of the artists," says cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, who started playing with pianist Jon Schmidt four years ago in St. George, Utah. "OneRepublic loved our mash-up of 'Secrets' with Beethoven's fifth symphony, five different melodies from all four moments. Did they marvel at how we combined all the melodies and how intricate it was and how hard we worked? Maybe not, but the feedback from them was, 'Wow!'

"And they told people, 'You have to hear it,' which was the most amazing thing, because their audience will listen to them."

Nelson and Schmidt -- along with producer/engineer Al van der Beek and videographer Tel Stewart -- have racked up a network of three million YouTube subscribers and more than 500 million views for their unique creations. The collective has also turned out four albums, including last year's "A Family Christmas," while a fifth, "Wonders," is due out on Oct. 7, and Nelson, 37, says the team feels confident the Piano Guys are viewed more than "just a typical YouTube cover band."

"We spend a tremendous amount of time and thought on this," he explains. "We don't just sit down and play the same way the artist did, with a different vocal. We work so hard to recreate these tunes so that when people here them it's still familiar but it's more like a rebirth of the song. It's not easy."

The Piano Guys

8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4

Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit

Tickets are $29.50-$46.50

Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com


Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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