Play! A Video Game Symphony

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"Play! A video game symphony V": Anno 1701 soundtrack (2 June 2007) Play! A video game symphony V (526586156).jpg
"Play! A video game symphony V": Anno 1701 soundtrack (2 June 2007)

PLAY! A Video Game Symphony was a concert series that features music from video games performed by a live orchestra. The concerts from 2006 to 2010 were conducted by Arnie Roth. From 2010, Andy Brick took the position of principal conductor and music director. Play! was replaced by the Replay: Symphony of Heroes concert series.

Arnie Roth American record producer, composer and conductor

Arnold Roth is an American conductor, composer, and record producer. His work includes conducting concerts for video game music. He is also a classically trained violinist and a member of the Grammy Award-winning music group Mannheim Steamroller. Roth is also the principal conductor and music director of the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra, Play! A Video Game Symphony, and several Final Fantasy concerts. He won the Best Score Award at the 2003 DVD Premier Awards for his soundtrack to the film Barbie as Rapunzel and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2007 for his original song "Shine" from Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses. Roth graduated from Bienen School of Music, an undergraduate and graduate institution of Northwestern University in 1975. He has a son and a daughter who are both also involved in music; his son, Eric Roth, is also a famed conductor.

Andy Brick American composer, conductor and symphonist

Andy Brick is an American composer, conductor and symphonist.

Contents

History

In 2004, Jason Michael Paul was approached by Square Enix to organize a concert for music from its Final Fantasy series. After the concert sold out in a few days, Paul decided to turn video game music concerts into a series. [1] Arnie Roth, who had previously conducted the Dear Friends - Music from Final Fantasy and More Friends: Music from Final Fantasy concerts, was selected to conduct the concerts. [2] Andy Brick, who had previously conducted the Symphonic Game Music Concerts, was chosen as the associate conductor. [3] The concerts are performed by local symphony players and choirs. [4]

Jason Michael Paul is an American concert producer, promoter, and entrepreneur. His production company, "Jason Michael Paul Productions", produced “Dear Friends”, PLAY! A Video Game Symphony, and Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.

Square Enix Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling over 115 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.

Play! premiered on May 27, 2006 at the Rosemont Theater in Rosemont, Illinois. [5] The premiere show featured performances by Koji Kondo, Angela Aki, and Akira Yamaoka, [6] and composers Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Yuzo Koshiro and Jeremy Soule were in attendance. [7]

Rosemont, Illinois Village in Illinois, United States

Rosemont is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Located immediately northwest of Chicago, as of the 2010 census it had a population of 4,202. The village was incorporated in 1956, though it had been settled long before that. While Rosemont's land area and population are relatively small among municipalities in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, the village is a major center for commercial activity in the region and is a key component of the Golden Corridor.

Illinois State of the United States of America

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

Koji Kondo Japanese video game composer

Koji Kondo is a Japanese music composer, pianist, and sound director who works for the video game company Nintendo. He is best known for his involvement in numerous contributions in the Mario and The Legend of Zelda series of video games, among others produced by the company. Kondo was originally hired by Nintendo in 1984, becoming the first person hired by them to specialize in musical composition for games. Shortly after, Kondo was assigned as the sound designer on the 1985 game Super Mario Bros. His sound design for the game, more specifically the musical theme for the overworld, has often been cited as among the most memorable in video games.

Concerts

Each concert features segments of video game music performed by a live orchestra and choir, with video footage from the games shown on three screens. [2] An opening fanfare, written by Nobuo Uematsu, is performed at each show. [7] Music from all video game eras is performed at the shows.

Video game music is the soundtrack that accompanies video games. Early video game music was once limited to simple melodies of early sound synthesizer technology. These limitations inspired the style of music known as chiptunes, which combines simple melodic styles with more complex patterns or traditional music styles, and became the most popular sound of the first video games.

According to Paul, the show is a "straightforward music program," designed "to keep the arts alive in a way that is classy." [1]

Performed music

Music from the following games has been performed at Play!:

Album

On January 9, 2009, a live album CD and DVD of the concert was released. It was recorded in Prague and was performed by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. [8]

Reception and legacy

The concerts have been well received. Audiences regularly give standing ovations after each song. [4] Jeremy Soule, composer of the music for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, said that he "consider[s] 'Play' to be the ultimate video-game surround system." [9]

According to Paul, Play! helps to promote the work of composers, as well as "lend credibility to the genre of video-game music." [4] Roth stated that the concerts help to also push the classical industry forward and to "draw new audiences." [4] According to Soule, video game concerts can help to educate old generations "that game music isn't just a bunch of bleeps and bloops." [1] One associate conductor stated that the performance crosses the generational gap, bringing together older and younger generations. [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

Nobuo Uematsu Japanese video game composer

Nobuo Uematsu is a Japanese video game composer, best known for scoring most of the titles in the Final Fantasy series by Square Enix. He is considered to be one of the most well known composers in the video game industry. Sometimes referred to as the "Beethoven of video games music", he has appeared five times in the top 20 of the annual Classic FM Hall of Fame.

Symphonic Game Music Concerts

The Symphonic Game Music Concerts are a series of award-winning, annual German video game music concerts initiated in 2003, notable for being the longest running and the first of their kind outside Japan. They are produced by Thomas Böcker and performed by various orchestras conducted by Andy Brick (2003–2007), Arnie Roth, Niklas Willén and Eckehard Stier.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and owned by Square Enix that includes video games, motion pictures, and other merchandise. The series began in 1987 as an eponymous role-playing video game developed by Square, spawning a video game series that became the central focus of the franchise. The music of the Final Fantasy series refers to the soundtracks of the Final Fantasy series of video games, as well as the surrounding medley of soundtrack, arranged, and compilation albums. The series' music ranges from very light background music to emotionally intense interweavings of character and situation leitmotifs.

The Black Mages were a Japanese instrumental rock band formed in 2002 by Nobuo Uematsu, Kenichiro Fukui and Tsuyoshi Sekito, who were three video game composers for Square Enix. The band arranged Uematsu's Final Fantasy video game series-based compositions in a hard rock style often similar to progressive metal, achieved with the additional use of synthesizers. Since its inception, the band had expanded to six members with the addition of Keiji Kawamori, Michio Okamiya and Arata Hanyuda. In August 2010, Uematsu announced the band had been disbanded, but he would continue to perform rock arrangements of his music as a part of another similar band, known as the Earthbound Papas.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy X was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu, along with Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano. It was the first title in the main Final Fantasy series in which Uematsu was not the sole composer. The Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack was released on four Compact Discs in 2001 by DigiCube, and was re-released in 2004 by Square Enix. Prior to the album's North American release, a reduced version entitled Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack was released on a single disk by Tokyopop in 2002. An EP entitled feel/Go dream: Yuna & Tidus containing additional singles not present in the game was released by DigiCube in 2001. Piano Collections Final Fantasy X, a collection of piano arrangements of the original soundtracks by Masashi Hamauzu and performed by Aki Kuroda, was released by DigiCube in 2002 and re-released by Square EA in 2004. A collection of vocal arrangements of pieces from the game arranged by Katsumi Suyama along with radio drama tracks was released as Final Fantasy X Vocal Collection in 2002 by DigiCube.

Music of <i>Chrono Trigger</i> album

The Chrono series is a video game franchise developed and published by Square Enix. It began in 1995 with the time travel role-playing video game Chrono Trigger, which spawned two continuations, Radical Dreamers and Chrono Cross. The music of Chrono Trigger was mainly composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, with a few tracks composed by regular Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Chrono Trigger soundtrack has inspired four official album releases by Square Enix: a soundtrack album in released by NTT Publishing in 1995 and re-released in 2004, a greatest hits album published by DigiCube in 1999, published in abbreviated form by Tokyopop in 2001, and republished by Square Enix in 2005, an acid jazz arrangement album published and republished by NTT Publishing in 1995 and 2004, and a 2008 orchestral arranged album by Square Enix. Corresponding with the Nintendo DS release of the game, a reissued soundtrack was released in 2009. An arranged album for Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, entitled To Far Away Times, was released in 2015 to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of Chrono Trigger.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy VI was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version, a compilation of all the music in the game, was released in Japan by NTT Publishing in 1994 and re-released by Square Enix in 2004. The album was released by Square Co./NTT Publishing in North America in 1994 under the name Kefka's Domain. Selected tracks from the official soundtrack were later released as part of the Music From FFV and FFVI Video Games album that was included with the release of Final Fantasy Anthology, and two EPs were produced containing character theme tracks entitled Final Fantasy VI Stars Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. A special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game, arranged by Shiro Sagisu and Tsuneyoshi Saito, and performed by the Milan Symphony Orchestra, was released under the title Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale by NTT Publishing in 1994 and 2004, and a collection of piano arrangements, arranged by Shirou Satou and performed by Reiko Nomura, was released under the title Piano Collections Final Fantasy VI by Square/NTT Publishing in 1994 and by NTT Publishing in 2001. Additionally, a single containing unused and remixed tracks from the game was released as Final Fantasy VI Special Tracks by NTT Publishing in 1994.

The music of the video games Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu, who would go on to be the exclusive composer for the next seven Final Fantasy games. Although they were composed separately, music from the two games has only been released together. All Sounds of Final Fantasy I•II, a compilation of almost all of the music in the games, was released by DataM/Polystar in 1989, and subsequently re-released by NTT Publishing in 1994. Symphonic Suite Final Fantasy, an arranged album of music from the two games by Katsuhisa Hattori and his son Takayuki Hattori was released by DataM in 1989, and re-released by NTT Publishing/Polystar in 1994. Final Fantasy & Final Fantasy II Original Soundtrack, another arranged album, this time by Nobuo Uematsu and Tsuyoshi Sekito, was released in 2002 by DigiCube and again in 2004 by Square Enix.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy VIII was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in Japan, and by Square EA in North America. A special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game—arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi—was released under the title Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII, and a collection of piano arrangements—performed by Shinko Ogata—was released under the title Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy IV was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy IV Original Sound Version, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by Square Co./NTT Publishing, and subsequently re-released by NTT Publishing. It was released in North America by Tokyopop as Final Fantasy IV Official Soundtrack: Music from Final Fantasy Chronicles, with one additional track. It has since been re-released multiple times with slight changes as part of the Final Fantasy Finest Box and as Final Fantasy IV DS OST. An arranged album entitled Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon, containing a selection of musical tracks from the game performed in the style of Celtic music by Máire Breatnach, was released by Square and later re-released by NTT Publishing. Additionally, a collection of piano arrangements composed by Nobuo Uematsu and played by Toshiyuki Mori titled Piano Collections Final Fantasy IV was released by NTT Publishing.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy III was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. Final Fantasy III Original Sound Version, a compilation of almost all of the music in the game, was released by Square Co./NTT Publishing in 1991, and subsequently re-released by NTT Publishing in 1994 and 2004. The soundtrack to the remake of Final Fantasy III for the Nintendo DS, Final Fantasy III Original Soundtrack was released by NTT Publishing in 2006, with revamped versions of the tracks and additional tracks. A vocal arrangement album entitled Final Fantasy III Yūkyū no Kaze Densetsu, or literally Final Fantasy III Legend of the Eternal Wind, contained a selection of musical tracks from the game. The tracks were performed by Nobuo Uematsu and Dido, a duo composed of Michiaki Kato and Shizuru Ohtaka. The album was released by Data M in 1990 and by Polystar in 1994.

The music of the video game Final Fantasy IX was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. It was his last exclusive Final Fantasy score. The Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was originally released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in 2000, and was re-released by Square Enix in 2004. A Best Of and arranged soundtrack album of musical tracks from the game entitled Final Fantasy IX: Uematsu's Best Selection was released in 2000 by Tokyopop Soundtrax. Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack PLUS, an album of music from the game's full motion videos and extra tracks, was released by DigiCube in 2000 and re-released in 2004, and a collection of piano arrangements of pieces from the original soundtrack arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi and performed by Louis Leerink was released as Piano Collections Final Fantasy IX in 2001.

Press Start -Symphony of Games-

Press Start -Symphony of Games- is a series of Japanese video game music concerts introduced in 2006. It was initiated by several industry professionals and is sponsored by the Japanese publishing company Enterbrain.

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and owned by Square Enix that includes video games, motion pictures, and other merchandise. The original Final Fantasy video game, published in 1987, is a role-playing video game developed by Square, spawning a video game series that became the central focus of the franchise. The primary composer of music for the main series was Nobuo Uematsu, who single-handedly composed the soundtracks for the first nine games, as well as directing the production of many of the soundtrack albums. Music for the spin-off series and main series games beginning with Final Fantasy X was created by a variety of composers including Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Kumi Tanioka, as well as many others.

Thomas Böcker German producer

Thomas Böcker is an award-winning German entrepreneur. He is most known for his Game Concerts series, initiated in 2003 as Symphonic Game Music Concerts, historical for being the longest running and the first of their kind outside Japan. He produced the first live performance of video game music by the London Symphony Orchestra, and was presented with the national Cultural and Creative Pilots Award by the German Federal Government, which recognises outstanding entrepreneurs within Germany’s cultural and creative industries.

<i>Symphonic Fantasies</i> live album

Symphonic Fantasies: Music from Square Enix was an award-winning symphonic tribute concert held in Cologne, Germany on September 12, 2009 at the Cologne Philharmonic Hall featuring video game music from Japanese game developer Square Enix. The concert featured symphonic movements based on the Kingdom Hearts series, Secret of Mana, the Chrono series, and the Final Fantasy series. The concert was produced and directed by Thomas Böcker, with arrangements provided by Finnish composer and musician Jonne Valtonen with assistance by Roger Wanamo. Due to overwhelming demand, a second concert was necessitated at the König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen, on September 11, 2009. The concert was performed by the WDR Radio Orchestra Cologne and the WDR Radio Choir Cologne under conduction from Arnie Roth, with guest performers Rony Barrak and Benyamin Nuss joining the orchestra. Symphonic Fantasies was broadcast over radio on the WDR4 station and streamed live video online.

<i>Symphonic Odysseys</i> live album

Symphonic Odysseys: Tribute to Nobuo Uematsu was a symphonic tribute concert held in Cologne, Germany on July 9, 2011 at the Cologne Philharmonic Hall. The concert exclusively paid homage to the work of Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu and featured music selected from his works as a video game music composer. Among the games featured were Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Last Story, King's Knight, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Legend, and selected works from the Final Fantasy series. The concert was produced and directed by Thomas Böcker, with arrangements provided by Finnish composer and musician Jonne Valtonen, along with Roger Wanamo, Masashi Hamauzu, and Jani Laaksonen. The concert was performed by the WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln and the WDR Radio Choir Cologne under conduction from Arnie Roth, with guest performers Benyamin Nuss and Juraj Čižmarovič joining the orchestra. A video recording of Symphonic Odysseys was streamed live online.

<i>Final Symphony</i> album by London Symphony Orchestra

Final Symphony is a symphonic concert tour first held at the Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal in Wuppertal (Germany) on May 11, 2013. To date, it has seen 22 performances worldwide. The concert tour features arrangements of video game music selected from the Final Fantasy series, specifically Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X. It is divided into three acts: a symphonic poem for VI, a piano concerto for X, and a symphony for VII. The concert is produced and directed by Thomas Böcker, with arrangements provided by Finnish composer and musician Jonne Valtonen, along with Roger Wanamo and Final Fantasy X composer Masashi Hamauzu with consultation from Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. The original works were composed by Uematsu and Hamauzu, and an introductory piece was composed by Valtonen. The premiere concert was performed by the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra under conduction from Eckehard Stier, with guest performer Benyamin Nuss joining the orchestra on piano.

<i>Final Symphony II</i>

Final Symphony II is a symphonic concert tour first held at the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Germany on August 29, 2015 and performed through 2016. The concert tour features arrangements of video game music selected from the Final Fantasy series, specifically Final Fantasy V, VIII, IX, and XIII. It is divided into four acts, one per game, with the newest game, Final Fantasy XIII, first, and the oldest, V, last; all four arrangements are single-section arrangements, with the IX portion as a piano concerto. The tour is a follow up to Final Symphony, a similar tour of orchestral arrangement performances from Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X beginning in 2013 and continuing to date. The concert is produced and directed by Thomas Böcker of Merregnon Studios, with arrangements provided by Finnish composer and musician Jonne Valtonen, along with Roger Wanamo and Final Fantasy XIII composer Masashi Hamauzu. The original works were composed by Nobuo Uematsu and Hamauzu, and an introductory piece was composed by Valtonen. The premiere concert was performed by the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under conduction from Eckehard Stier, with guest performer Mischa Cheung joining the orchestra on piano.

References

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  5. "Koji Kondo to attend Chicago world-premiere". Anime News Network. 2006-04-17. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
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  9. Buckendorff, Jennifer (2008-01-21). "Seattle Symphony playing with video games". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-09-04.