Can video game music boost classical music’s popularity?

Video games have come a long way from the Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Centipede games I played as a kid.  Today’s video games offer a complete multimedia experience versus the beeps and clicks from games in the 70s and 80s. Video game developers depend on quality music performed by orchestral musicians. As an active gamer, I have experienced firsthand how music in video games has evolved.

Last week, Anne Midgette from the Washington Post published an interesting piece discussing the rise of concerts featuring music from video games.  These “gaming” concerts are performed by major orchestras featuring orchestral scores from popular games like Halo, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft and more.

Later this week, the National Symphony Orchestra is presenting “Distant Worlds,” a concert devoted to the music from the Final Fantasy video game series

This form of orchestral music has a great potential to introduce a different kind of “classical” music to a new generation.  This might be the golden opportunity major orchestras have sought to change the demographic of classical music audiences in the US.  Is it possible that in a few short years orchestral programs may include music from Starcraft II followed by music composed by J.S. Bach, Mozart or Beethoven?  Or, better yet, concerts may feature music by Philip Glass, John Adams, or other contemporary composers.

Here is a snippet from the Post article with a quote from Tommy Tallarico, the creator of “Video Games Live”:

Tallarico’s own introduction to classical music followed a similar path. After growing up listening to rock music, including his cousin Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, he went to see “Star Wars” at age 10. “It was the first time I’d listened to orchestral music,” Tallarico says. “It hit me: Wow, what is that? I started reading about this guy named John Williams. He said Mozart and Beethoven were influential. When I heard Beethoven, I was 11 years old, and it changed my whole life. My goal changed from wanting to be a rock star to wanting to be a composer.” He adds, “Here we are, 30 years later, and video games are having the same effect on a whole generation.”

Video Games Live is a touring concert event that features music from the most popular video games.  Top orchestras & choirs perform along with exclusive video footage and music arrangements, synchronized lighting, solo performers and more to provide a unique experience.

Read the full article at the Washington Post.

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