Posts Tagged ‘ThePianoGuys’

Angels We Have Heard on High

December 11, 2015

Angels We Have Heard On High, ThePianoGuys with Peter Hollens and  David Archuleta.

O Come, Emmanuel

December 25, 2014

Christmas Greetings.

A beautiful and haunting Christmas version of O Come, Emmanuel by ThePianoGuys.

Let It Go (Disney’s “Frozen”) Vivaldi’s Winter

April 6, 2014

This is real snowy wasteland, not digital editing in a studio.

I would have preferred straight Vivaldi Winter from The Four Seasons.

Angels We Have Heard on High

December 25, 2013

Christmas greetings from ThePianoGuys.

Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends

December 22, 2013

A destiny is not realized until we let go of the illusion of control. — Master Oogway

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

It had always been the dream of ThePianoGuys to play on the Great Wall of China.

Since ThePianoGuys began, it has been our impossible dream to put a grand piano on the Great Wall. People laughed at us when we said we were determined to do it. It is done. All of us at ThePianoGuys would like to dedicate this music video to the visionary behind it all and the man whose dream this has always been: Paul Anderson.

An invisible hand guided us, for which we are eternally grateful. This was a life-changing experience for us.

When we found out we had been granted a permit to film on The Wall we were intimidated by the prospect of choosing what song to write. A pop song arrangement seemed irreverent! We talked about writing an original tune, but we wanted something more relevant. We’re big fans of the Kung Fu Panda movie series (and we’ve all got kids that love it too.) We had what we call a “chills up” moment as we listened to “Oogway Ascends” from the soundtrack. Steve was inspired to figure out how to create a sound on his custom electric cello (named Bruce Lee) that mimicked the Chinese fiddle (Erhu) and the plucked instrument, Guqin. As we often love to do we wanted to include a classical influence. There are over 30 million piano students in China. That’s more people than the entire population of Australia! It’s probably safe to say the great Polish pianist/composer Frédéric Chopin has more groupies in China than anywhere else. We had been working on an arrangement of his Prelude No. 20 (nicknamed “Chord” or “Funeral” Prelude). It fit the theme and the vibe of Oogway’s “Ascension” AWESOMELY (as Po would say). Between it all we wanted a bridge that sounded like a Kung Fu battle. Once the concept had solidified the song seemed to write itself.

We only had a day to film. Wow. Capture the epicness of the Great Wall in 12 hours or less? Add in the challenges of weather (lighting), limited equipment and crew, and, of course, the people climbing the wall – many were very nice and stayed back as we filmed, but we couldn’t keep everyone off which eliminated a lot of shots. We wished we could have done so much more, but we’re grateful for what we were able to do.

The portion of the Great Wall where we filmed is called “Huangyaguan.” It was originally built in 570 AD and rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). The Great Wall is over 8,000 Kilometers (5,000 miles) long. It can be seen from space. It is arguably the most iconic Wonder of the World. Our new dream is to put a piano and cello on ALL SEVEN WONDERS. Which one should we do next?

If you’ve read to the end of this description then you are unofficially inducted into ThePianoGuys Secret Kung Fu Inner Circle. Skadoosh!

The amphitheatre at the base of the Acropolis in Athens, is a must for ThePianoGuys to film and perform a concert.

Peponi

August 19, 2013

Amazing live performance ThePianoGuys featuring Alex Boye.

If you wonder what Alex Boye is talking about, check out the video Alex Boye made with ThePianoGuys.

A pity the entire concert has not been posted.

Concert at Kingsbury Hall.

ThePianoGuys – A Thousand Years

March 14, 2013

ThePianoGuys perform A Thousand Years by Christina Perri for Classic FM.

Mission Impossible

January 19, 2013

Mission Impossible, a tacky Hollywood film, bums-on-seats, aimed at American teenagers with the attention span of a gnat.

I groaned when I saw this was ThePianoGuys latest, but I have to admit I enjoyed.

ThePianoGuys featuring Lindsey Stirling.

The Story:

It was May of 2011… a few days after Lindsey Stirling and ThePianoGuys had each filmed their first official YouTube videos (“Spontaneous Me” and “Michael Meets Mozart”). Lindsey and Steven Sharp Nelson (cello guy) shared the stage at a concert. After the show they talked enthusiastically about a YouTube collaboration down the road. A year and a half and a million fan requests later and it’s finally here! We love Lindsey Stirling! It feels like we’re family — we started on YouTube around the same time, we “grew up” in the same place, we all LOVE what we do and we’re all REALLY good dancers…except for ThePianoGuys. =)

We chose the theme from “Mission: Impossible” because we thought it would be a great music video to “be ourselves” in — to play off each other, throw in some special effects, a couple “stunts,” and some slapstick! The concept for the song and video began with spy gadgets — we wanted all of them to be string instrument parts! Then how would we pair up graceful, pro-dancer Lindsey and not-so-graceful Steve? =) It was simple. Steve had to carry around his own chair! Then the graceful/not-so-graceful thing contrasted beautifully! When Jon Schmidt (Piano Guy) was cast as the “villain” and donned an eye patch we knew we were on to something…

We composed this arrangement with the story of the video in mind — a tense beginning building up the intrigue, a back-and-forth theme traded between violin and cello implying the partner-agent roles, lasers, the “reveal” moment of Jon, rappelling, and the hectic, scrambled ending. We wanted a little more thematic material to work with, so in addition to some original material, we merged Mission: Impossible with the first movement of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in C” (here’s a recording of the original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcUh-ggBfzI). But, of course, we sped it up, transposed it into A minor and changed the time signature to 5/4! It became Jon’s “villain theme.” And yes, Jon is really playing THAT fast. At the end in order to create a musical feeling of “pandemonium” we wrote the piano part, reversed it and randomized the notes, tweaking them until they clicked. And for you rhythm enthusiasts, at times you’ll hear a 4/4 time signature in the percussion imposed on the 5/4 timing to add to the intrigue and mayhem!

This video was in over its head before we even started filming. We planned a base-jumping scene for the beginning that didn’t end up working out. The restaurant was a last-minute idea that we threw together as an intro. We were concerned that the laser and rapelling scenes would also die from over-complicatedness, but thanks to the genius and hard work of Paul Anderson and Tel Stewart we pulled them off!

Filming locations:

THANK YOU to Stephen Wade Auto for serving as our last minute filming location when all others fell through! They were so nice to us and let us film in their place all through the night and they saved us on the reppelling scene!
Check out their website here: http://www.stephenwade.com/
Facbook here: http://www.facebook.com/StephenWadeAutoCenter

Thanks also to the Tonaquint Data Center for allowing us to use their facility in getting the cool “Mission: Impossible” feel.
Check their website here: http://www.tonaquintdc.com/
Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tonaquint-Data-Centers-Inc

Thank you also to Benja’s Thai food restaurant http://benjathai.com/ for staying open late so we could get the beginning shots for the video! (Best Thai Food in Southern Utah!)

Last but not least, thank you to Stan Plew at Dixie College for letting us film late at The Jeffrey R. Holland building.

If you’ve read this far this description will self-destruct in 5…4…3…2…

Paradise (Peponi) African Style

January 2, 2013

Version of Paradise by Coldplay performed by ThePianoGuys with Alex Boye.

Filmed on location in Southern Utah.

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Story behind the song:

Each time we write/arrange a tune we take a journey. We have to admit—this journey took us a lot further than we expected. Retracing our steps reveals several factors that made this a reality. As we started arranging it we had serious writer’s block. Perhaps some of the worst we’ve ever had. In fact, one day instead of writing we went around the entire studio with a can of WD-40 and coated every piece of metal to ensure that we were a squeak-free studio. Then on a whim we decided to back away and take an entirely new approach to the song—an African approach. It may seem random in retrospect, but at the time it was an exciting way to restart the arrangement. It was working, but our journey still was on foot until we called in Alex Boye, one of the most talented people we’ve ever met. Alex has this contagious energy that gave new life to the song and to us. He sings the tune in 4 different languages: Swahili, English, Yoruba (his mother’s native language), and Alex’s own African “scat” (we’ll call it…Scafrican) =) Most of the words you hear are translated from the lyrics in the original Coldplay Tune. We’re huge fans of Alex — We bet you are now too!

Follow Alex on Facebook here:

http://www.facebook.com/alexboye.music

When we had finished the arrangement we all agreed that listening to it was like taking a journey to somewhere remote and ruggedly beautiful. How were we to depict this with a cello, African percussion and, most difficult of all, a grand piano? We took a risky, but oh-so-valuable turn when we called in helicopters to air-lift us and our instruments where none had gone before! (Please excuse the Trek reference). Since no one had ever done this before where were we to go for advice? Well, we can tell you that Home Depot didn’t have a lot of answers (how disappointing) but we did clean them out of their strongest cable they had. We don’t mind telling you that when that helicopter began lifting our brand new-never-before-played grand piano into the air we couldn’t help close our eyes and cross our fingers. We consider a blessing of Heaven that it worked. I guess we figured that if it didn’t, maybe it could still be a viral video — “PIANO MOVE FAIL” =)

We’d like to thank from the bottom of our hearts, Duane Fielding who offered the helicopters and SkyHawk http://www.skyhawkhelicopters.com for not dropping the piano…:-) Half-way through the first day of shooting we discovered that, as typical guys, we had forgotten to bring ANY food or water to this remote location. We had two options: one, wrestle a mountain rodent and harvest cacti or two, starve. Duane, our head pilot, took pity on us. He took off (literally) and moments later landed in a Wendy’s parking lot, ordered 5 of everything (sadly, he couldn’t use the drive through)…took off again and brought us chicken sandwiches and hamburgers via airmail. Thank you Duane! Flying in your helicopter was a dream come true for us despite the lack of doors. =)

Filming location:

http://g.co/maps/mker7 (Southern Utah)

All the instruments you hear are REAL instruments. We wanted to be authentic about this. The following percussion instruments were used:

Djembe (drum)
Agogo bell (like a cow bell)
Udu (the porcelain vase-looking drum)
Guiro (gourd scraper)
Djabarra (shaker)
Rain stick
Pangi seed shaker (“goat toenails” or Unas)

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ThePianoGuys hail from Utah, one guy on piano (Jon Schmidt) and one guy on cello (Steven Sharp Nelson), aided and abetted by Paul Anderson, Tel Stewart and Al van der Beek.

The name comes from a music shop in St. George, Utah, which was called The Piano Guys, selling pianos.

Looking for an unusual way to promote The Piano Guys, Paul Anderson hired the only pianist he knew Jon Schmidt, who in turn enlisted the help of cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, to film a few videos. Al van der Beek had a studio and helped with arrangement. Tel Stewart, a piano mover, proved to be a cinematography genius.

Beethoven’s 5 Secrets

December 31, 2012

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine. — Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven’s 5 Secrets, variant of Secrets from OneRepublic, performed by ThePianoGuys in concert with The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic (Youth Orchestra) and its director, Kayson Brown.

Vocal version is with Tiffany Alvord, stunning looking, phenomenal voice.

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Story behind the song:

The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic (Youth Orchestra) and its director, Kayson Brown, approached us with this idea. We loved it. It combined two of the things we are working to accomplish — inviting people to classical music and inspiring young musicians. Steven Sharp Nelson had soloed with the orchestra the previous year and loved the spirit and the talent that the orchestra showed at such young ages (ages 13-18!) Together we developed the concept of “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets,” combining OneRepublic’s tune “Secrets” with melodies and moments from all four movements of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

We used 5 different melodies from the 4 movements of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (not including the “bridge” the orchestra plays in the middle). Try to guess where they are and where they come from!

What are Beethoven’s secrets? He had many. His most prominent secret that he desperately tried to keep from the public and that caused him to be considered extremely eccentric, irritable, and hermit-like was his “weakness.” He was deaf during most of his life. Imagine that…one of the greatest composers that ever lived could hardly hear. And yet, he wrote his life’s greatest works after becoming deaf. He believed that art itself had “secrets” that had to be “forced into” in order to obtain art’s highest level. There is no doubt Beethoven discovered many of the “secrets” of art — people all over the world enjoy them every day. He was a true master of music, blessed by God. This piece and video are dedicated to him.

Perform “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets” and the entire Beethoven Symphony No. 5 with Steven Sharp Nelson at Lyceum Music Festival this year! Work up-close and personal with Steven and other amazing professional musicians like the concertmaster of the London Symphony and Rotterdam Orchestra. Advanced players ages 13-21 are invited to audition.

Visit (for details):

http://www.LyceumMusicFestival.com or

http://american-heritage.org/music/orchestra

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ThePianoGuys hail from Utah, one guy on piano (Jon Schmidt) and one guy on cello (Steven Sharp Nelson), aided and abetted by Paul Anderson, Tel Stewart and Al van der Beek.

The name comes from a music shop in St. George, Utah, which was called The Piano Guys, selling pianos.

Looking for an unusual way to promote The Piano Guys, Paul Anderson hired the only pianist he knew Jon Schmidt, who in turn enlisted the help of cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, to film a few videos. Al van der Beek had a studio and helped with arrangement. Tel Stewart, a piano mover, proved to be a cinematography genius.

Top Story in The Music Video Daily (Wednesday 2 January 2013).