Classical music

2Cellos bring their classical crossover show to Hong Kong

Struggling classically trained cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser decided they needed to do something different to prosper, and haven't looked back since

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 8:22pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 July, 2015, 11:22am

What do you do when you are a classical musician struggling to find opportunities in a diminishing market? Keep treading along the beaten path, throw in the towel, or break down cultural barriers and throw a creative curveball? Thankfully for classical and contemporary music lovers alike, young cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser chose the latter.

As aspiring teenage artists, Sulic and Hauser first met at a masterclass in Croatia. They were often rivals and competed in music festivals and competitions. However, years later, in 2011, they found themselves in London, united by their financial difficulties despite their musical talent.

Together, they formed the unconventional cello duo, 2Cellos, which will be making their debut in the city on July 14 as part of an ongoing world tour. To break out from their career stalemate, Sulic and Hauser decided to be rid of classical music constraints, while retaining their talent on the cello, and went down the crossover path. And they hit the jackpot straight away with their cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal (2011).

The video features the two facing off frantically in a white room surrounded by red chairs, a scene perhaps inspired by their earlier rivalry. Like many aspiring artists, the duo posted the video on YouTube, where it became an instant viral hit. It received more than three million hits in the first two weeks and has since garnered more than 25 million views.

Shortly after, the duo signed a record deal with Sony Music Masterworks and began touring with Elton John on his world tour, opening his shows at iconic venues such as Madison Square Garden and Queen's Diamond Jubilee, as well as the Emmy Awards. They have also shared the stage with a diverse group of artists, including Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lang Lang.

They have released three commercially successful albums, their self-titled debut in 2011, IN2ITION in 2013, and Celloverse in January this year. Their latest effort topped both the Billboard Classical and Classical Crossover charts. They continue to be popular with online fans too, with their Thunderstruck video from Celloverse attracting more than 33 million views on YouTube.

A neck injury to Hauser in April stalled the band's progress — they had to cancel part of their US tour — but they are back at full strength and on the road, with Singapore, Croatia and Italy next in line.

Kitec,1 Trademart Drive, Kowloon Bay, July 14, 8pm. HK$480, HK$680. Inquiries: 3128 8288