TSO's 'Video Games Live'

. January 11, 2016.
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A symphony orchestra playing video game soundtracks might sound like a strange or novel idea a conductor dreamed up to appeal to a younger audience for a night, but in reality such a concert has become one of the best and most sold-out symphonic experiences in the country.

Plug into this 21st Century experience on Friday, January 29 when the Toledo Symphony will put on a production of a worldwide orchestral sensation produced by one of gaming’s musical legends, Video Games Live.

Symphonic simulation

Video Games Live pressed start in 2005, when the Los Angeles Philharmonic performed a version of the show at the Hollywood Bowl. VGL was originally created by Tommy Tallarico, a composer and gaming music veteran who has worked in the industry since 1991. Tallarico helped score the soundtracks of games such as Earthworm Jim, Prince of Persia, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. He will host and play guitar with the Toledo Symphony during their performance on January 29th at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle.


Video Games Live performances have sold out around the world.

“Video Games Live is a concert production that has been presented successfully in many, many communities,” Kathleen Carroll, TSO president and CEO, said. In fact, this year alone, VGL performances are scheduled in  Spain, Germany, Chile, and Ireland. Carroll explained, “We wanted to give it a go to see whether the performance would resonate with TSO audiences.”

Big blockbuster orchestral scores of recent years will appeal to newer, younger gamers. Plus, part of the show will be an arcade gaming medley that features more than 20 classic games including Pong, Donkey Kong, Dragon’s Lair, Tetris, and Duck Hunt. For classic gaming fans, this will be a new way to experience the blips and beeps of their youth as they come out of strings and horns.

High-definition fun
During the performance, two large screens will play video clips of each game as its music is being performed. This adds a new element to the symphony’s performance, which is all a part of a bigger project.


The Peristyle will be bathed in green as the Toledo Symphony performsVideo Games Live

“The decision to include [Video Games Live] in the TSO schedule is in line with our desire to experiment with technology,” Caroll said. “This will be an extension of our ‘TSO in HD’ projects from early 2015.” The project has added two video screens to the side of the Peristyle stage, which will open up how audiences view future Peristyle performances.

On top of all that, there's even something special for beer drinkers— Maumee Bay Brewing Company will have a special green-tinted beer for sale at the event. The refreshment will be available at the Glass Pavilion, Peristyle, and Libbey Court areas of the museum on the night of the performance.

Even if it’s been years since you’ve picked up a controller, Video Games Live promises to bring back all sorts of childhood memories. Even if you don’t know the names of any of the songs or the composers, you’ll recognize the music as soon as you hear the first notes of a classic Contra or Final Fantasy theme.

8:30pm Friday, January 29 | $40-75
Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater, 2445 Monroe St.
419-255-8000 | tickets.toledosymphony.com