Video Games a Bit Hit in Orchestra Halls
December 1, 2010 § 1 Comment
A recent Toronto Star article titled “Can Barbie save the symphony?” caught my attention (it’s an interesting read for anyone else who is intrigued), however, I was actually more interested in the article following it below called “Final Fantasy fans get their concert, too.” The article talks about an upcoming performance by Canada’s Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony of music from the Final Fantasy video game series. What immediately came to my mind was the music from an old video game that my boyfriend has recently started replaying called Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which came out in 1997 and is the 13th in the game series. Instead of the typical, digitized music I expected for a game that originally came out in the ’80s, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night incorporates a mix of musical styles from classical to jazz to rock. It surprisingly was more pleasant to listen to than the music and sounds I remember from video games (the extent of my video game experience basically includes the original Mario Brothers games).
Upon further digging and searching for clips on YouTube, I found that there are a number of games in addition to Final Fantasy and Castlevania that utilize symphonic music and even operatic sounds in their soundtracks that have become widely popular among gamers – many are available for purchase on iTunes.
Like the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, several other orchestras have performed video game music. Some have collaborated with a company called Video Game Live, which produces video game music concerts with orchestras and choirs around the globe and incorporates video screen displays, lighting effects, and other features into the shows. Its tour schedule so far this year has included concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Dallas Symphony, among others.
It looks like these concerts have been around for several years, however I’m just learning about their popularity. I think this is a great example of how orchestras can reach a new audience, and certainly the revenue from a packed house is a bonus. And it’s fun to see the excitement and energy coming from these full orchestra halls as people cheer along to the music being performed.