Cellos can arguably no longer be relegated to parlor gatherings or the back of a classical orchestra – at least, not with musicians Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser around.
The Croatian duo, under the name 2Cellos, played at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Wednesday night in a sold out concert that attendees have been anticipating since last May. The concert had to be rescheduled from the previous date due to Hauser sustaining a neck injury, preventing him from playing.
However, the pair are back and better than ever, bringing everything from AC/DC to Vivaldi to the stage, in a mix between a parlor gathering performance and a rock concert, with both classical pieces and flashing lights accompanying the musicians throughout the concert.
“I [kept] my tickets” said one concertgoer, who was offered a refund from the cancellation last year. “I play the cello, and watched all their YouTube videos.”
Šulić and Hauser both studied the cello since childhood, and met in their teenage years in Croatia. They began playing as a duo in their 20s. In April 2011, a YouTube video of the pair playing a cello-based cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” reached 10 million views in three months.
The pair signed a record with Sony Masterworks later that year, touring the world and covering modern day songs from U2, Nirvana, Coldplay and Avicii. Their first album, ‘2Cellos’, was released in June.
2Cellos went on to tour with Sir Elton John for his 2011 summer tour, and appeared on several networks and shows such as “Glee,” along with performing at the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee Concert. The pair went on to release two more albums: “In2ition” in 2013, and “Celloverse” in 2015.
Though the concert started 20 minutes past the opening time, the audience was still in high spirits, cheering as the duo entered the concert hall wielding horsehair bows and custom crafted black and white cello frames.
The concert started with an almost peaceful tone, with classical pieces such as ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ and Bach’s Second Movement in D-minor.
However, the performance changed the tempo quickly with a performance of U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name,” with both musicians rising from their seats and playing wildly towards the end.
The pair then turned to more contemporary music pieces, such as “Viva la Vida” and their founding song, “Smooth Criminal.” Their energy was certainly channeled into their performance, and by the fourth song Šulić had already broken several horsehair strings on his bow, which he then passed out to the cheering crowd.
Both men carried a charming demeanor on stage, Hauser especially, as he interspersed several songs with comments to the audience, and encouraged the crowd to dance, take pictures, and sing to the music, since, as he joked, “We don’t know the lyrics.”
After several alternative rock, pop and even a few love songs, the concert once again upped the tempo, this time toward the grunge and heavy metal side, with the classics “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Thunderstruck.” By then, Hauser had exited his seat and strutted around the stage, cello and bow in hand, joined by accompanying drummer Dusan Kranjc, adding to the rock-concert dynamic.
Playing furiously, the trio made their way through “Highway to Hell” and “Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” as the crowd cheered, sang and stomped along to each song. Then, after several standing ovations, two false exits and a selfie with the audience, the performance ended, once again on a classical note, with the piece “Benedictus.”
“Good night, everyone,” called out Hauser to the crowd, as he exited. “Dream about me.”
Playing rock songs on classical instruments won the favor of the crowd, and several concertgoers praised the performance.
“It’s really incredible,” commented fellow cellist Matthew Lin. “They’re a huge influence.”
Others had their opinion of classical instruments changed forever by the performance. “I wasn’t expecting it,” said one concertgoer. “I’m convinced that every rock band should have a cello now.”
Marlese Lessing is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.