Western orchestra music is deemed very classical, traditional and formal. It is treated like the music of and for cultured people all around the world. The music is taken seriously because of the sophisticated manner in which it is produced and presented.
There is, however, a conductor who is primarily known for his comical take on the classical western music. His comic way of presenting music is not any less popular with the audience and they do take it seriously.
Rainer Hersch, a British conductor, actor, writer and comedian, brought his classical comedy to Doha on Saturday night when he created a sort of hysteria among the audience with his hilarious music and moves. The audience at Abdul Aziz Nasser Theater at Souq Waqif witnessed comedy of its own kind as they laughed loudly sometime in tone with the funny music coming from the classy musical instruments.
Rainer took the helm of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) with an unforgettable evening of laughter and great music. Nothing was safe from the comic maestro as he whipped through hilarious arrangements of tunes one though one knew. It was a concert but it was not the concert that you normally know. The concert was all bound together with Rainer’s award-winning stand-up comedy.
The comedian, who boosts of over 40 million followers on YouTube, actually made all the instruments speak the language he wanted to hear. He hit at different human behaviours with the hilarious musical tunes. He displayed some acrobatics accompanied with funny tunes to make people laugh. He made the instrumentalists generate sounds of farting, sneeze, coughing, and spitting etc.
Rainer also involved some people from audience in his comic acts by asking them to play certain tune on piano and conducting the orchestra the way they like. All the time during the show, the comedian kept the gathering glued to their seats as no one left till he was done with his crazy acts.
Born in 1962, Rainer has toured in more than 30 countries and has broadcast extensively, principally for the BBC. His radio series include All Classical Music Explained (BBC Radio 4, 1997); Rainer Hersch’s 20th Century Retrospective (BBC Radio 3, 1999) and All the Right Notes, Not Necessarily in the Right Order (BBC Radio 4, 2003 and 2006).
Rainer studied Economics at Lancaster University. A Monty Python fan in his youth; he joined the Revue Group, the university’s student comedy troupe, and began his writing career. In July 2015, he was presented with an Alumni Award by Lancaster University for graduates who have made a substantial contribution to their field and developed an outstanding international reputation.
In December 1987, Rainer made his debut on the London stand-up circuit as part of a comic double act The Tebbits with fellow student Peter Wylie. In 1992 he gave up his job as touring manager of the London Festival Orchestra to become a professional comedian and since that time has performed exclusively as a solo artiste.
In 1996 Rainer wrote and presented his stand-up show All Classical Music Explained at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of 13 such Edinburgh appearances. Billed as a simple and stupid guide to questions like ‘why is organ music so boring?’; ‘what does a conductor actually do?’ and ‘how to clap in the wrong place and mean it’” All Classical Music Explained has since been performed over 300 times in four continents. It established him as an original comic voice and the classical music theme, which has dominated all his subsequent activities.
Rainer continues to tour the world presenting his one-man shows or as guest conductor in comedy concerts with orchestra. Among his many other commitments, he is currently conductor/host of the annual Johann Strauss Gala – an extensive, UK-wide tour and artistic director of the April Fools Day Concert at the Royal Festival Hall, an event he instigated in 2009.
As a musician, Rainer studied piano as a private pupil of Norma Fisher. He studied conducting for three years at The Conservatoire in London and in master classes at the Royal Academy of Music. He has conducted many orchestras around the world including; The Philharmonia Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.
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