Fifth House Ensemble to bring video game to life at Ferst Center

By Cleo Creech

There was a time when serious composers writing music for movies would raise a bit of an eyebrow. But now it’s common practice for studios to commission big-name composers and hire full orchestras to work on major movie productions.

Today those big budgets and production values are growing more and more common in the gamer world. Video Games have become epic storytelling with studios producing big budget blockbusters with the best programmers, writers, artists and yes, composers available. Video games have also become really big business, by most estimates the gaming industry has now far surpassed Hollywood as a moneymaker. More and more music schools offer degrees in Video Game Composition. This is where all the action is.

Journey (the game not the band) is a groundbreaking, hugely popular release that really pushes the envelop as far as look and feel, and music for video games. Not your typical one-person shooter, it creates instead a unique world of mystery that a player gets to explore and interact with. It’s been described as “the most beautiful game of its time.” So the music of course had to reflect the epic, mysterious almost spiritual nature of the game itself.

Composer Austin Wintory who cut his teeth in the movie industry, having scored over 50 films, increasingly splits his time between movies and video games. He has been dubbed by a leading gamer magazine as “Gaming’s Eclectic Outspoken Maestro.” Wintory wrote the original music for Journey, then after the game’s success has now collaborated with The Fifth House Ensemble to realize this live interactive stage version, which will be presented at the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 9 p.m. Tickets are available at this link.

The making of the interactive work made news itself when the kickstarter campaign to fund it received such overwhelming support that it made headlines in the gamer and music world. The huge support not only allowed for the creation of the work, but for an expanded multi-city tour that followed.

One thing that draws so much attention to the work is that it is truly interactive, the Fifth House Ensemble plays the music live to a screen where the game is being played by select audience members. The live game is actually part of and influences the live performance.

One thing that both the Fifth House Ensemble and composer Austin Wintory seem to have in common is their love of experimentation and collaboration. Both are known for their ground breaking work and risk-taking. With works like Journey Live we see the music industry once again reinventing itself. Appealing to a younger more plugged in audience. Whether you play the game or not, this is the future of music.

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