A forum for discussing everything related to Asian string instrumentalists, the instruments themselves and their repertoire.
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If you don't already know who the two people in the above photo are and listen to classical music, you probably live under a proverbial rock. Australian violinists turned YouTube sensation Brett Yang (right) and Eddy Chen (left), otherwise known by their YouTube channel TwoSet Violin, may have changed the world of classical music forever. Nearing two million subscribers, which may be the highest-ranked classical music commentary channel on YouTube, Brett and Eddy have toured Europe, Asia and America with their musical comedy, appeared numerous times with top musicians such as Ray Chen and Hillary Hahn, become living Internet memes through an untrackable amount of fan art, and accrued more nicknames than Jay-Z.
TwoSet originally began in 2013 posting videos of pop songs played on the violin, attempting to copy something they had seen other violinists do. After watching some of Ray Chen's comedy videos (posted here), they changed the content of their videos and took off. Like all great YouTube personalities, Brett and Eddy have found a way to become famous for just being themselves. They are probably at their best when mocking bad violin playing. They regularly react to depictions of violinists in TV and film, especially in Asian media. They respond to these videos as viscerally as a group of American college students watching football. Particularly poignant reactions are augmented with video effects that make full use of Internet meme language. They have filmed themselves playing instruments with rubber chickens. They have an inexplicable hatred of violas. Their offical sub on Reddit is full of cornball insider conservatory humor: https://www.reddit.com/r/lingling40hrs/ They may have a hand signal (I still haven't figured out yet).
TwoSet seems to have broken open an untapped niche: the collective animus of the conservatory musician forced to spend the best hours of each day preserving a centuries-old art form in relative seclusion, as the world around them becomes more instant, more digital, and more direct all the time. But they could not have become what they are if they were not credentialed members of that community--Brett and Eddy are conservatory-trained musicians who have played in professional orchestras. Their satire comes from an informed place, and they make real points about music and musical ability. One of their memes is "Ling Ling," the Asian prodigy with the tiger mom who practices forty hours a day. There is an undeniable racial tinge to the meme, but the advice is sound: you shouldn't practice forty hours a day. Other catchphrases of theirs that rightly mock certain ways of thinking among musical aspirants are: "geniuses are born not made" and "if you can play it slowly, you can play it quickly."
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of highly skilled Asian instrumentalists. But there is only one TwoSet Violin. (Or is it two?)
The most viewed TwoSet video, in which they critique a man who claims to have the world record for the fastest rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee":
"Guess the Violinist" with Ray Chen:
TwoSet watch a 10-year old Asian violinist compete in the junior division of the Yehuda Menuhin Violin Competition. There is a mixture of awe with the satire:
In this Sestercentennial of Beethoven's birth, the classical concert of the year may have just been TwoSet's live-streamed performance of Tchaikovsky's violin concerto to approximately 40,000 viewers. What began as a joke has become a new performance milestone for classical music in the digital age and is appropriately full of chaos. [edit: Andrea Bocelli's Easter Sunday concert from Milan during the COVID-19 pandemic just livestreamed to 2.8 million viewers 4/15/20] Brett and Eddy talk over each other's playing and in-between the movements and plow through the occasional mistake or memory slip. The performance marks the channel reaching two million subscribers: