Pianist stuns America’s Got Talent judges by turning Beethoven into a robotic breakdance fantasy

20 May 2021, 20:01 | Updated: 21 May 2021, 14:19

By Kyle Macdonald

America’s Got Talent meets an unexpectedly modern take on classical music’s most famous piano miniature.

Ludwig van Beethoven meets robotic dance in this surprisingly virtuosic piano performance before Simon Cowell and America’s Got Talent judges.

All seemed set up for a conventional piano recital when a tall, bearded pianist named Patrizio Ratto appeared.

An austere electric grand piano and stool was placed on stage. But it turned out music was not only under his fingers, but rather running through his entire body.

Read more: Someone inverted every single interval in Beethoven’s Für Elise, and it sounds wild

Ratto’s performance begins with those typical Got Talent heart-in-mouth nerves and anticipation. Are you playing the original song, the judges ask? No, he responds: “It’s classical music, I hope you like it”.

But it also turns out there’s a lot that’s original about his performance.

Patrizio Ratto surprises judges by breakdancing to Beethoven
Patrizio Ratto surprises judges by breakdancing to Beethoven. Picture: America's Got Talent

The pianist begins with Beethoven’s famous Bagatelle in A minor, Für Elise. However, after a few bars, some unexpected variations emerge.

Electronic beats and urban sounds emerge to accompany the piano, and Ratto suddenly contorts his body. A piano stool is kicked over and a dinner jacket thrown off, as Beethoven meets a robotic breakdancing epic.

It may not be a typical piano recital, but Ratto has won many fans. Two years after its debut, the clip is approaching 10 million YouTube views.

One viewer remarks: “When your parents want you to be a professional concert pianist but you told them you wanted to be a robot when you grow up.”

Listen: Relax with our Calm Piano playlist on Global Player

Watch Patrizio’s performance in full below.