CONCERT PREVIEW: 2 Cellos to bust music genre boundaries in Philly

2 Cellos

The classically trained Croatian duo 2 Cellos made a name for themselves for imaginatively rearranging modern songs.

They were the first instrumentalists to be featured on “Glee” and they appeared multiple times on “The Today Show” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” in addition to “The Tonight Show.”

Cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser enlisted the London Symphony Orchestra, with conductor/arranger Robin Smith, for their latest album, “Score.” It explores melodies from classic and contemporary movies and television, including “Game of Thrones,” “Titanic”’s “My Heart Will Go on” and Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire.”

Sulic and Hauser were in Europe when they answered some questions in advance of their Sept. 13 concert at the Mann Center.

Is it true you two were once musical rivals? Tell me about how you met.

We have known each other since childhood and there was a bit of musical rivalry at the time. We developed a friendship in the UK, where we were both studying, and connected over our strong passion for the cello but also our desire to be experimental and push boundaries.

What was your first experiment in the reworking of a rock song that made you both go: “Oh wow!”?

Our version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” was very popular, and was important in showing that it is possible take classical instruments beyond their traditional boundaries and give new life to pop songs. This is an important goal for us.

Are there any plans for either of you to tour with an orchestra?

We were lucky enough to write our new album with the London Symphony Orchestra. So to bring these beautiful pieces of music to life, we are performing alongside orchestras for the whole of this tour.

Being from Central European countries, what does your success say about music being a universal language?

Music is accessible to anyone and everyone, and has the ability to bridge across social and cultural boundaries. We hope that our music is having a positive effect on people, and if it is boosting the profile of the cello and classical music, then that is great.

How important was Elton John in exposing you to a wider audience (He was so impressed with their musicianship that he asked them to tour with him. John calls them “astonishing ... I can’t remember seeing anything as exciting as them since I saw (Jimi) Hendrix live back in the ‘60s”)?

Touring with Elton was fantastic and an honor. He’s a living legend and a really kind and funny guy. And to have received the praise he has given us is incredible and can only have helped our careers. He opened our eyes to what it means to be a big star. And now we’re playing in arenas he plays in – this is crazy!

How important is YouTube for what you guys do?

Well it all started for us on YouTube, so its really important! YouTube is an amazing platform that offers us a reach to so many people with our music, some who may not even know they are fans, but come across it by accident. Through having both our live performances and music videos posted on there, people can get a full experience of our music and our passion.

What was the best advice you ever got?

Just be yourself and pursue your dreams. No dream is too big!

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