“An epic journey
of struggle and sacrifice,
risk and renewal,
and the worlds that exist without and within.
Two outsiders shed their exterior identities,
unveiling their true selves.
Brave the elements
Shed the material
Become one with Nature”
Classical pianists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe are different. A piano duo who have attracted legions of new fans with their virtuosic and acclaimed arrangements of popular hits (such as their “Billie Jean” cover or their Star Wars Fantasy), they are musicians who bring the care and stunning imagination of brilliant indie filmmakers to their YouTube music videos, pushing the form forward. Case in point: their Schubert Lied-turned-horror-film Der Erlkönig – which, as we go to press, has just been nominated for an Emmy Award.
If they attract full houses across the US and internationally with their live shows, they have made an art of presenting classical music on YouTube, producing and directing videos that have been viewed by millions. “We cater our performances to the venue, whether it be a concert hall or online, and as such, we design our YouTube videos to potently deliver the spirit of the music in a bustling graphic environment,” says Anderson. But even they have never previously attempted anything on the scale of The Rite Of Spring.
To be released in segments (as it is composed), one every two weeks starting from the date of the work’s centenary, Anderson and Roe’s Rite takes the viewer on an epic journey but one that finally mirrors the primeval nature of the work itself. Starting in traditional concert trappings, the performers become gradually sucked into a ritualistic spiral that sets them immersed in a troupe of dancers, crawled on by insects, lost in a hallucinatory world, naked in the ocean, or alongside an antique instrument ablaze in the desert. What is real? What is imaginary? One thing is for sure - theirs is a striking, strident view of music that ripped apart the culture of its time, and this film proves it can still unsettle and thrill us today. In this year of the Rite’s centenary, this interpretation will leave a mark – a scar? – and, perhaps, help to redefine it.
THE RITE OF SPRING will be free to view on YouTube at Anderson & Roe’s channel from May 29… Watch Anderson & Roe’s Emmy-nominated video Der Erlkönig here.
Notes for Editors:
* California-based Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe are among the most exciting, groundbreaking piano duos performing today, with nearly seven million page views on their YouTube channel and a busy national and international touring schedule
* Their YouTube music video, Der Erlkönig, has just been nominated for an Emmy Award
* THE RITE OF SPRING uses a cast of 21, and involved a shoot that criss-crossed the U.S., from Los Angeles and New York to Palm Beach, South Carolina and a Southern Californian desert, even involving filming from an airplane – a “Making Of” documentary will be released at a later date
* THE RITE OF SPRING is conceived, edited, co-filmed, produced and performed by Anderson and Roe. As if that weren’t enough, while filming a scene with an organ in the ocean, Greg Anderson’s large toenail was completely ripped off! No animals were harmed while filming. Just the toenail.
* Their most recent album, “When Words Fade,” was released by the Steinway label and spent nearly a dozen weeks at the top of the Billboard classical charts
* They recently announced an “Anderson & Roe”-branded publication deal for their piano duo arrangements with Alfred Music Publishing
* Alumni of The Juilliard School (where they met), they have broadcast on MTV’s Total Request Live, NPR’s All Things Considered and From The Top, APM’s Performance Today, and KBS’ Classic Odyssey. They left an indelible mark at their alma mater, directing the 2004 performance project “Life Between The Keys” and appearing on the Sounds of Juilliard CD celebrating the school’s centennial year