According to Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta conductor and music director Mark Steighner, video game music has now reached a status equal to that of film. “Scores for video games are now composed by the same talented writers who pen big-budget Hollywood features, and they are just as musically complex and interesting,” Steighner said.
Steighner, who is a professional video games reviewer and journalist, notes that audiences for “games music” orchestra concerts have become incredibly popular around the world. Thanks to his connections to the world of video games and game music, Steighner was able to borrow several scores from the “Play: A Videogame Symphony” orchestra production that has been touring the country.
“This is not commercially available music, but arrangements created exclusively for the ‘Play’ symphony.” On the local orchestra’s program are selections from “The Legend of Zelda,” “Final Fantasy,” and “Skyrim,” all popular and beloved game franchises. Steighner encourages videogamers to come enjoy the concert, not just for the game music, but for the rest of the program, which includes Mendelssohn’s “Fingal’s Cave,” overture (a musical description of Scotland’s Hebrides Islands), music from “Pirates of Penzance,” and the Mendelssohn violin concerto, played by orchestra member Kristian Apland.
The concerts are May 2 at 7 p.m., and May 4 at 2 p.m. at the Wy’east Middle School performing arts center. Admission is free, with a $10 suggested donation. The concert is sponsored by the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association.