It is no surprise that the international success of The Piano Guys has come in the most unconventional, creative way possible. This is the group that uses classical instruments to reinterpret pop music on moving trains, thousand-foot cliffs, and falling out of airplanes!  Pianist Jon Schmidt, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, audio engineer Al van der Beek, and videographers Paul Anderson & Tel Stewart make up the unique combination of talents called The Piano Guys.

This unlikely group of five Utah dads built up an online following of nearly one million YouTube Channel subscribers and 100 million views without the support of a major record label or touring. Keep in mind these are piano/cello arrangements of popular tunes receiving 500,000+ new YouTube views a day!

PBS is currently airing their live concert at Red Butte Gardens in every television market in the United States as part of the PBS Great Performances Series. The Piano Guys were recently featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, and the Katie Couric Show. Google included them in their 2012 year in review commercial. They soared to the top of the iTunes Charts with Beethoven’s 5 Secrets spending 48 days as No. 1 on the iTunes Classical Charts in 7 countries and featured our students in their PBS Special playing the same hit. They recently signed with perhaps the most prestigious label in classical music, Sony Masterworks, which represents Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Lang Lang, and John Williams. But to talk with them you would think that these are the most down-to-earth, goofy classical musicians you’ve ever met.

In 2011, when cellist Steven Sharp Nelson first joined the Lyceum Music Festival family, he was best known for using his improvisation and alternative cello techniques as a uniquely talented Salt Lake City studio musician. The Festival had the “Steven Sharp Nelson Suite” commissioned to highlight his alternative cello techniques. He played the premiere with the Lyceum Philharmonic on an electric five-string cello and sequencer. Steven’s approach to music, his remarkably varied experience in the music industry, and his natural ability to relate to young musicians made him the perfect match for Lyceum Music Festival. For the first time, LMF decided to invite a guest artist to return the following season.

The Lyceum Music Festival can say that we knew them before they were superstars, but the reality is that inspiring young musicians is a core part of who they are and what they are attempting to do with their music. The Piano Guys are selling out major venues and counting their YouTube views and music downloads in millions, but their success does not stop them from taking a week to work with the 75 budding young musicians of LMF.

The Piano Guys have found their own musical path to success and they genuinely want to help you find yours.

“We can’t wait to see our Lyceum friends again. This is one of the highlights of our year.” TPG

Don’t try this at home!

Mom said you had to practice. She never said you couldn’t do it on top of a moving train!