Brett Yang and Eddy Chen of TwoSet Violin have met their $50,000 Kickstarter goal, which will be used to fund their first world tour. Meeting their target in just five days, they are possibly the very first classical musicians to have successfully crowdfunded an international tour. Yang and Chen will bring their unique show, full of comedy, audience interaction, and plenty of the personality that have seen them become viral sensations, to 10 international cities, including London, New york, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo. They will bring their show back home to Australia in 2018.
On the duo’s Kickstarter, they explained that “the classical music industry has always been heavily reliant on funding. But in recent years, decreasing funding has resulted in many orchestras and musicians struggling to survive. We believe crowdfunding may be an important solution for the future of classical music. We want to show that collectively, as a group, we can come together to support and create the future of the arts!”
To raise the money, Yang and Chen organised a non-stop busking marathon on the streets of Sydney, spending nights playing in an inner-city park. The duo promised not to return home until achieving their set goal, despite being booked into a hotel room by D’Addario Orchestral in support of their efforts. Many of their performances were broadcast live to over 100,000 Facebook Livestream viewers, and were joined daily by young aspiring musicians.
Speaking to Limelight about raising such an astonishing figure, the duo admitted “when we hit our funding goal of 50k, we were struck with a wide range of emotions.”
“First, there was the feeling of relief knowing that we wouldn’t have to sleep under a tunnel in the rain for what was going to be our fifth sleep-deprived night,” they said. “This was followed by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and disbelief at the amount of generous support we received. During the entire campaign, many of our fans stayed with us during our live feeds all the way, constantly commenting with words of encouragement and jokes to heighten our spirits. Many people pledged substantial amounts of money without asking for any rewards. We even received comments like ‘My daughter asked me to pledge her entire allowance’. Lastly, I think we felt really excited. Before the launch of the campaign, we weren’t sure what to expect at all. People would ask us how long would it take to hit 50k, and we honestly had zero idea. However, to hit 50k in five days shows that there are many people in the world who care about classical music, and want to support it.”
Although they have exceeded their target goal, Yang and Chen will continue to busk, keeping the campaign active for the next 25 days. With every $10,000 raised over the original goal, another city will be added to the tour.
Aside from allowing them to take their show around the world, the Kickstarter was formed to demonstrate that “our generation cares about art, and that it can be crowdfunded by the people. This campaign represents a chapter in our broader mission of making classical music relevant to the modern generation.”
Meeting their target has Yang and Chen more hopeful than ever about classical music’s future. “One thing that we learnt in this past week is just how many people love classical music,” they said. “We were able to connect with countless people, both in person and online, from all walks of life. These were people from different ages, nationalities and professions, coming together because of music. Likewise, while the successful crowdfunding campaign is showing us that the people are willing to come together to support the arts, and that we won’t necessarily always have to rely on government funding. So while the future is always uncertain, and only time can tell…we are feeling optimistic. We are ecstatic for the opportunity that this tour is going to give us to inspire the next generation of classical music!”
Their live show promises to “break all your pre-conceived ideas of a classical music concert.” Billed as “engaging, exhilarating and downright hilarious”, the duo first decided to turn their funny online videos into a proper recital back in 2016. Their significant online presence has seen them collaborate with musicians such as Lang Lang and Ray Chen, and their unique shows have routinely drawn young audiences who have never before seen a classical music concert.