The Piano Guys

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For The Piano Guy, see Scott Houston.
The Piano Guys
Origin St. George, Utah
Genres Classical crossover, orchestral pop, cello rock
Years active 2010-present
Labels Sony Masterworks/TPG Records
Website www.thepianoguys.com
Members
Past members Tel Stewart

The Piano Guys are an American musical group consisting of Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson, and Al van der Beek. They gained popularity through YouTube, where they posted piano and cello renditions of popular songs and classical music. Schmidt and Nelson's music is accompanied by professional-quality videos shot and edited by Paul Anderson and formerly by Tel Stewart. Their first four major-label albums The Piano Guys, The Piano Guys 2, A Family Christmas, and Wonders each reached number one on the Billboard New Age Albums and Classical Albums charts.[1][2]

History[edit]

Paul Anderson owned a piano shop in St. George, Utah. He met musician Jon Schmidt as the latter walked in to ask if he could practice there for an upcoming concert.[3] Months later, Paul Anderson and Tel Stewart (then just for fun) started making videos together with Jon Schmidt. Not too long after that, they did their first collaboration with Jon Schmidt, along with Steven Sharp Nelson and Al Van Der Beek, studio and music technicians. After the five of them started collaborating, the group took off, producing a music video each week and posting it to YouTube.

Success[edit]

Several of the group's YouTube videos have over 20 million views, while each of them has over 750,000. As of October 2015, The Piano Guys' YouTube channel had more than half a billion total video views and over four million subscribers.[4] In June 2011, The Piano Guys won the "Most Up-and-Coming Channel" award in the YouTube "On the Rise" contest with "Michael Meets Mozart" with Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson.[5][6] On August 6, 2016, at their concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, YouTube and Sony presented The Piano Guys with a plaque commemorating 1 Billion total video views.

Signing with Sony[edit]

In September 2012, it was announced that the Piano Guys had been signed by Sony.[7] This resulted in a worldwide release of the album The Piano Guys, followed in 2013 by The Piano Guys 2, and Wonders in 2014.

Works[edit]

Jon plays the piano and Steven plays the cello - acoustic, electric.

Most songs are composed of several audio tracks that are mixed together. Occasionally, they superimpose the videos of the previous audio tracks to give the impression that many identical instrumentalists are playing at once.

They also collaborate with other musical artists on occasion, as seen in a number of their videos.

2010-2011[edit]

The first video posted to their YouTube channel is titled "Game Day".[8] "The Dumb Song" came almost a year later. This has stuck with Jon since he was a kid, all inspired by a commercial he had seen as a child.[9] "To the Summit" was inspired from a dream Jon had. He is accompanied with Ray Smith on a tenor saxophone.[10] Among the Top 10 of their most popular videos, "Michael Meets Mozart - 1 Piano, 2 Guys, 100 Cello Tracks" was produced in part by the fans encouraging them to create more mashups of various song styles/ artists.[11] Created by Jon's son, Spencer Schmidt, The Piano Guys and Spencer collaborated in order to bring life into the song Bittersweet.[12] With his cello, Steve played one of Bach's Cello Suite 1 with seven layers of cellos being played together on this piece.[13]

Southern Utah, being where The Piano Guys are from, is showcased in "Desert Symphony", a video produced by Shaye Scott.[14]

"Moonlight" was filmed predominantly in Salt Flats, Utah. This video[15] shows Steven Sharp Nelson playing Moonlight, a piece he composed for electric cello inspired by Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and the melody from Beethoven's 7th Symphony, 2nd movement. It was posted to YouTube on July 14, 2011.

This video[16] shows Jon Schmidt playing a modern version of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor. It was posted to YouTube on July 25, 2011. According to the description, Jon wrote this song when his son started his first band and researched music on YouTube. There are two versions of this song on YouTube; both feature Jon Schmidt and a band consisting of Chris Wormer, Joel Stevenett and Jake Bowen. In the original 'Rockmaninoff' version, the volume of all instruments is well-balanced. In the 'Rock meets Rachmaninoff' version, the piano sounds much louder than the other instruments. The video also shows the sheet music for this song. The sheet music lists the play volume as 'Pretty dang loud'.

Their cover of "Bring Him Home" from the musical version of Les Misérables was dedicated to those in the military and their families.[17]

Along with Steven Sharp Nelson, Jon played an arrangement of "Twinkle Lullaby", a version of "Twinkle Little Star".[18]

Other tracks they've made are:

2012-2013[edit]

2014-2015[edit]

2016[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
US
[32]
US Class
[33]
US New Age
[34]
AUS
[35]
AUT
[36]
GER
[37]
SWI
[38]
UK
[39]
Hits Volume 1 7 1
The Piano Guys
  • Released: October 2, 2012
  • Label: Sony Masterworks
  • Format: Digital download, CD
44 1 1 65 51 51
The Piano Guys 2
  • Released: May 7, 2013
  • Label: Portrait
  • Format: Digital download, CD
38 1 1 97
A Family Christmas
  • Released: October 22, 2013
  • Label: Portrait
  • Format: Digital download, CD
20 1 1
Wonders
  • Released: October 7, 2014
  • Label: Portrait
  • Format: Digital download, CD
12 1 1 88 86 46
"—" denotes an album that did not chart or was not released.

Live albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
US
[32]
US Top Albums
US Class
[33]
US New Age
[34]
Live!: Carnegie Hall Audio + Red Rocks Concert Video
  • Released: November 13, 2015
  • Label: Portrait
  • Format: Digital download, CD+DVD
111 73 4 2

Awards[edit]

YouTube Music Awards

Year Category Work Result
2013 Response of the Year "Titanium/Pavane" Nominated[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Billboard New Age Albums Chart History: The Piano Guys". Billboard. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Billboard Classical Albums Chart History: The Piano Guys". Billboard. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Piano Guys - What's our Story?". Archived from the original on December 17, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ ThePianoGuys' channel on YouTube
  5. ^ "Introducing ThePianoGuys, your June On The Rise winner". YouTube Official Blog. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ Verdugo Morgan, Alexa (March 22, 2013). "The Piano Guys success spreads worldwide: Debut album, overseas appearances, US tour". St George News. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ della Cava, Marco R. (September 5, 2012). "Web hit Piano Guys sign with Sony". USA Today. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ ThePianoGuys (2010-03-16), Game Day - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  9. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-02-05), Dumb Song - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  10. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-05-06), To The Summit (Featuring Ray Smith on Tenor Sax) - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  11. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-05-17), Michael Meets Mozart - 1 Piano, 2 Guys, 100 Cello Tracks - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  12. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-05-25), BitterSweet (ft. guest artist, Spencer Schmidt) - filmed by ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  13. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-06-14), The Cello Song - (Bach is back with 7 more cellos) - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  14. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-06-21), Desert Symphony (Southern Utah's Landscape) - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  15. ^ Steven Sharp Nelson - Moonlight - Electric Cello (Inspired by Beethoven) on YouTube
  16. ^ Jon Schmidt - Rock meets Rachmaninoff - Piano Remix (BAND MIX link in description) on YouTube
  17. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-08-10), Bring Him Home (from Les Misérables) - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  18. ^ ThePianoGuys (2011-08-23), Twinkle Lullaby (Twinkle Little Star) - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  19. ^ Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) Lightsaber Duel - Steven Sharp Nelson on YouTube
  20. ^ Coldplay - Paradise (Peponi) African Style (Piano/Cello Cover) - The Piano Guys ft. Alex Boyé on YouTube
  21. ^ "Lyceum Philharmonic to Perform with The Piano Guys for PBS Broadcast" (PDF). American Heritage. September 14, 2012. 
  22. ^ Beethoven's 5 Secrets - OneRepublic (Cello/Orchestral Cover) - The Piano Guys on YouTube
  23. ^ ThePianoGuys (2013-01-07), Mission Impossible (Piano/Cello/Violin) ft. Lindsey Stirling - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  24. ^ Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends - The Piano Guys on YouTube
  25. ^ ThePianoGuys (2014-12-12), Over A Thousand People Came Together To Break a Record And Bring This Moving Christmas Hymn To Life, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  26. ^ ThePianoGuys (2015-05-07), What Are Words - ft. Peter & Evynne Hollens - ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  27. ^ ThePianoGuys (2015-10-03), When Stars and Salt collide - Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars (piano/cello cover), retrieved 2016-03-09 
  28. ^ ThePianoGuys (2015-10-29), This is Your Fight Song (Rachel Platten Scottish Cover), retrieved 2016-03-09 
  29. ^ ThePianoGuys (2015-11-30), "Silent Night" ft. Plácido Domingo -ThePianoGuys #ASaviorIsBorn, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  30. ^ ThePianoGuys (2016-01-28), Adele - Hello / Lacrimosa (Mozart) – ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-03-09 
  31. ^ ThePianoGuys (2016-05-03), The Jungle Book / Sarabande (Mayan Style) – ThePianoGuys, retrieved 2016-05-03 
  32. ^ a b "The Piano Guys – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 
  33. ^ a b Peak Billboard Classical chart positions:
  34. ^ a b Peak Billboard Classical chart positions:
  35. ^ Ryan, Gavin (October 18, 2014). "Triple J Has Australia's Number One Album". Noise11. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Discographie The Piano Guys". Ö3 Austria Top 40 (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Discographie The Piano Guys". GfK Entertainment (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 17, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Discography The Piano Guys". Swiss Hitparade. Hung Medien. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  39. ^ "PIANO GUYS Albums". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  40. ^ Lopez, Korina (November 4, 2013). "A mix of internet sensations and heavy hitters took home awards.". USA Today. 

External links[edit]