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Symphony concert showcases video game themes

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TWC News: Symphony concert showcases video game themes
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No matter your age or gaming experience, you can probably hum a few notes of the theme to Super Mario Brothers, Tetris or World of Warcraft. Those and many others were showcased Saturday at Video Games Live at the Long Center.

Composer Neal Acree joined World of Warcraft game developers after it already became a popular game. He was tasked with writing the first notes any player hears.

"I just want to make sure that players are going to feel very comfortable and familiar with what they are playing and hearing, but also feel something new is happening,” Acree said.

The journey melds his passion for music and lifelong fascination with video games.The same can be said for many other special guest composers at Saturday’s symphony concert. Tommy Tallarico has more than 20 years of experience as a composer and created Video Games Live eight years ago. It tours worldwide with 40 to 50 shows a year.

"I wanted to prove to the world how culturally significant and artistic video games have become," Tallarico said.

Tallarico also wanted to bring the value of a symphony to a generation more focused on Top 40 and Hip-Hop music genres.

"Our audience is probably 50 to 60-percent gamers,” he said. “The other audience are people who go to the symphony, or maybe it's a grandmother bringing the grandson to the symphony for the first time."

Austin Wintory is barely 30, and he scored his first PlayStation game just after graduating from the University of Southern California.

"It's felt like a nice, gradual curve for me,” Wintory said. “There's never been that moment that felt like a break."

However, Wintory is making waves in the music world. He was recently nominated for a Grammy for the music he wrote for the game, Journey. Wintory says he is up against world-renowned composer John Williams, who is a man Wintory greatly respects. Fellow composers say Wintory’s Grammy nomination is a first for the gaming industry.

"I don't feel better about having done Journey than those things you've never heard of,” Wintory said. “I wrote music that, at the end of the day, I was happy to write. I got to work with people that I care about."

The Video Games Live tour returns to Texas Jan. 26 2013, with a show in Dallas. Tickets and information about the concert can be found here.

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