In what no one could have thought to have been a mash-up to curate for the ears of the masses, two composers premiered the “Yeethoven” concert and created a performance that should be heard by all.
On April 16, after composers Yugi Cohler and Stephen Feigenbaum worked to put together the orchestra for the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF), the two premiered their “Yeethoven” concert. The concert had a total run time just under an hour, using the time to fuse together the sounds of Ludwig van Beethoven with similarly sounding Kanye West songs. The composition doesn’t require listeners to play a guessing game in order to figure out where exactly the Beethoven and West meet as Cohler and Feigenbaum often explain the next part of the orchestra–including what songs were going to be seamlessly played.
Specifically titled “Yeethoven,” the orchestra brings together songs from Yeezus along with various Beethoven compositions. Six songs in total are featured in the concert and are each outlined on the SoundCloud of the mash-up. Just before each West song addition is when Cohler and Feigenbaum give their explanation. The symphony kicked off with Beethoven’s “Overture to Egmont, op. 84” and led into West’s “New Slaves.” The mixture of chords, violins, pianos and cellos, among other instruments, were all woven together in a way that made the musical masterpieces feel as though they could have come from the same era.
This concert is slightly reminiscent of the “Trap Symphony” series put on by Audiomack. The series placed Atlanta rap trio Migos along with a small orchestra. Rather than mix the two genres together as a concert, the symphony had two of the three Migos members, Takeoff and Quavo performing. Offset, the third member, was incarcerated at the time of the filming, which was evident as the three together have more energy and feed off of each other’s vibes. Though the lyrics aren’t exactly full of substance and depth, the juxtaposition of the lyrics and orchestra go well with each other. The video below does feature NSFW language:
Cohler was the youngest graduate of New York’s Julliard School and is currently the music director and conductor for YMF Debut Orchestra–a position that is “one of the foremost professional training orchestras in the country,” according to the YMF website. He founded the blog State of Art, “A blog about musical culture in America without preconceptions of quality or genre.” His accolades are countless and reinforce why he holds the position he does.
Feigenbaum is also a composer, “classically trained,” working with a numerous genres. His accolades include his music being performed by the Cincinnati Pops, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Lisa Moore and others. His list of awards and works are also lengthy and add to the composer’s reputable résumé.
Gowhere Hip Hop notes the two Ivy League graduates’ concert and concept were approved by West. According to GWHH, the concert received “three rousing standing ovations,” solidifying the impact it had to the patrons in attendance. You can watch a short video of the performance below.