Sunday, December 28, 2008

A new game for highbrows

Art-musicians find a lucrative new outlet in . . . video games.

Producers of the games pay composers $1,000 or more per minute of music, Vivien Schweitzer reports in The New York Times. "[S]chools like the Berklee College of Music in Boston have started game scoring classes." Performers, from the concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic to the new-music chamber group Alarm Will Sound, get into the game.

“If Beethoven were alive today, he’d be a video game composer,” says Tommy Tallarico, a leading light in the new genre. Garry Schyman, who composed the score for BioShock, says producers "are craving strong statements" in the games' soundtracks. Spooky atmospherics à la Bartók and vintage Penderecki-style tone clusters are especially in demand: