10 amazing times when Sesame Street went classical

6 October 2014, 15:16 | Updated: 6 January 2017, 14:45

Those times when the finest musicians and furriest monsters got together to share in all things classical. Expect to know your alphabet very well by the end of this one.

Yo-Yo Ma plays some jazz (with an owl)

It's a late-night jam session with Hoots the owl – a duel between the great cellist and Hoots's saxophone playing. Superb vest from Yo-Yo as well. 

Plácido Domingo, with a flamingo

Clearly Pavarotti and Carreras were just the warm-up: the tenor's true partner in music is his Muppet counterpart Placido Flamingo...


Andrea Bocelli's lullaby to Elmo

Who doesn't want to be sung to sleep by the dulcet tones of this star tenor? Here, Sesame Street's Elmo is lucky enough to be lulled to dreamland with "Time To Say Goodbye". Though it isn't without a little bedtime drama.

Renée Fleming teaches us how to count (via Verdi)

The flawless American diva is also in the mood for some numerical teaching: to espouse the virtues of counting from 1 to 5 she turns to "Caro Nome" from Verdi's Rigoletto. And sounds incredible. 

Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Monsters

The superstar Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel draws on all the glories of music to teach Elmo the true meaning of the word stupendous. In doing so, the maestro directs a sheep playing the violin, an octopus playing the drums, and a chorus of penguins. El Sistema (the Venezuelan music education) is everywhere these days.

Lang Lang's debut with The Grouch Symphony Orchestra

The piano superstar pulls out the 18th Variation from Rachmaninov's Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini for this audition for Oscar's symphony orchestra – but he soon finds out he's got a maestro who's very hard to please.

Sir James Galway teaches the alphabet

The man with the golden flute has graced this street a number of times, but our favourite comes from 1981. And it was to help teach the alphabet – you'll be happy to know that Big Bird was on hand to help out.


The Kronos Quartet plays some footie

The world-renowned foursome plays some football to describe the dynamics of the string quartet. Someone get Big Bird a viola – those Mozart quintets are gorgeous. 


Joshua Bell, Telly Monster and a childhood dream

As great duets go, this is surely up there with the greats. In a rendition of "Sing After Me", Joshua Bell had the formidable Telly Monster accompanying him on Tuba. Apparently the first tune Bell learned on the violin was the Sesame Street theme – so he must have been stocked to be there.

Dame Evelyn Glennie on the bins

The world renowned percussion virtuoso is always looking for something to bang and crash. Unfortunately, Oscar the Grouch's trash cans are in the firing line – and he needs some convincing.