The story of video game music concerts
On Saturday 24 May at 3pm on Classic FM, Jamie Crick presents highlights from a Symphonic Fantasies concert, recorded in front of approximately 5000 video game music fans in Tokyo in January 2012. Discover the story of video game music concerts - from 1987 to the present day.
1. Symphonic Fantasies concerts
On Saturday 24 May at 3pm on Classic FM, Jamie Crick presents highlights from a Symphonic Fantasies concert, recorded in front of approximately 5000 video game music fans in Tokyo in January 2012. Founded in Germany during 2009, ‘Symphonic Fantasies’ brought the music of popular video games of the developer Square Enix into the concert hall. Such soundtracks from ‘Final Fantasy’, ‘Kingdom Hearts’ and ‘Secret of Mana’ were rearranged for orchestra, choir and soloists. Photo: Kamil Rojek
2. The pioneer of video game music concerts
Koichi Sugiyama – best known for composing the music for ‘Dragon Quest’ – is the pioneering figure in the performance of video game music. In 1987, he held the world's first video game music concert in Tokyo. Since then, he has held more than 18 of them throughout Japan. Photo: Boljoa
3. A European first
On 20 August 2003, for the first time outside Japan, music written for video games was performed by a live orchestra, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, in a ‘Symphonic Game Music Concert’ at the Leipzig Gewandhaus concert hall (pictured). The concert marked the official opening of Europe's biggest trade fair for video games, and was repeated each year until 2007.
4. Final Fantasy IV in Ireland
Following in Koichi Sugiyama's footsteps, other composers have gone on to arrange symphonic concert performances showcasing their work in video games. Compositions by Nobuo Uematsu on ‘Final Fantasy IV’ were arranged into ‘Final Fantasy IV: Celtic Moon’, a live performance by string musicians with strong Celtic influence recorded in Ireland.
5. Final Fantasy at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
The first officially sanctioned ‘Final Fantasy’ concert in the United States was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (pictured) on 10 May 2004. All seats at the concert were sold out in a single day.
6. Symphonic Fantasies
The ‘Symphonic Fantasies’ concert, recorded in January 2012, attracted some 5000 people to the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Japan. The concert sold out within four days and more than 4600 video game music fans enjoyed the show.
7. The rise of the Eminence Symphony Orchestra
In 2003, the Eminence organization was founded in Sydney, Australia to focus on the music of Japanese video games. In 2007 the Eminence Symphony Orchestra took their ‘A Night in Fantasia’ concert series around Australia. It marked the first time that the entire set list for their concert was pieces from video games.
8. Video Games Live in L.A.
On July 6, 2005, more than 11,000 people saw the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra's first ‘Video Games Live’ concert, founded by composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert featured a variety of game music, including ‘Pong’ and ‘Halo 2’. It also incorporated real-time video feeds that were in sync with the music, as well as laser and light special effects. Photo: Michael J. Trifillis
9. Selling out venues around the world
Video Games Live have gone on to stage concerts in Canada, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, France, Taiwan and China. On 22 October 2007, Video Games Live was the first show to sell out the Royal Festival Hall since its refurbishment earlier that year.