Yuga Cohler has garnered attention as a conductor for brilliant performances and an organizer of highly inquisitive, and at times bold, performance projects. His membership in the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI) an organization dedicated “to promoting new music relationship between Asia and the Americas,” is yet another instantiation of these qualities.
Since 2016, Feigenbaum and the conductor Yuga Cohler have periodically put on performances they call “Yeethoven,” including two in Los Angeles and one at New York City’s Lincoln Center. With a contingent of classical instrumentalists, they trace the similarities between the works of a 21st-century rapper/producer [Kanye West] and a 18th- to 19th-century composer.
Yuga Cohler is on a mission to disrupt the classical-music establishment. And he already has its attention. The 28-year-old conductor, who debuts as the music director at Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra (RSO) on May 5, gained international prominence last year with his project Yeethoven, an orchestral concert comparing the works of Beethoven and Kanye West that culminated in a sold-out show at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall in January.
The worlds of classical and electronic music come together this weekend in Little Tokyo. It’s all part of a concert and community arts festival hosted by the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Chamber Orchestra and dreamed up by YMF music director Yuga Cohler and composer Stefan Cwik. The event will combine the music of Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, and LA-based DJ and electronic musician Flying Lotus in a unique concert experience.
After the success of 2016’s Yeethoven composer and arranger Johan and conductor Yuga Cohler have returned for Yeethoven II, a concert focused on the similarities between the artistry of Kanye West and Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides just having a great name — who wouldn’t want to explore the limits of that wondrous portmanteau — the creators of the project see it as a way to explore the ways in which artists at the top of their game can have a deep impact on the culture beyond their musical influence.
The worlds of classical music and hip-hop may seem too far apart to ever come together in any meaningful way. However, two artists (and a youth orchestra) are looking to remix the way we think about these two different art forms: composer/arranger Johan and conductor Yuga Cohler, the music director of the Young Musicians Debut Chamber Orchestra.