When it comes to music in video games, many of us are like Paul Jarrett’s gamer son. We instinctively hum along to that jubilant euphonious music in Mario Kart, but it doesn’t always click that we’re consuming orchestral music each time we power up.
“It’s interesting to hear him listening to orchestral music even though he doesn’t realize that that’s exactly what it is,” says Jarrett, executive director of the Akron Symphony Orchestra.
The Akron Symphony Orchestra’s Video Games Live brings those tunes off the screen and onto the stage Oct. 28 at E.J. Thomas Hall. The Akron Symphony Orchestra performs both classics and new pieces from Tron to Gears of War. Since many of us aren’t actively listening to it, we don’t really hear how dynamic and interesting the pieces — often made by young, emerging composers — can be.
“It’s very melodic, it’s very rhythmic, it’s very active,” Jarrett says. “It’s a unique way to highlight what will become the next generation of classical music.”
The show amplifies each musical piece by turning it into an immersive world that’s synced with video game footage on a screen with lights, special effects, a choir and stage performers.
“There’s a lot to absorb both visually and aurally. The soundtrack to a movie or to a video game often goes unnoticed until it’s missing,” says Jarrett. “So what’s typically put into the background, we want to bring it to the foreground and share it with our audience.”