Mario Brothers, Halo Live at the Hollywood Bowl

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An event at the Hollywood Bowl will showcase the world of video game music. And it's serious business — the Los Angeles Philharmonic will be playing compositions from Super Mario Brothers to Halo.


If you haven't checked in on the world of video games in a few years, you might be surprised at what they sound like.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: That's music from Advent Rising, a game that pits a video human against an alien race that's out to destroy humanity. It's one of the pieces of music that the LA Philharmonic will be playing tonight at a concert called "Video Games Live." Tommy Tallarico is the executive producer of the concert. He also composed the music for Advent Rising.

Mr. TOMMY TALLARICO (Executive Producer, "Video Games Live"): There's the 72-piece LA Phil, plus we have a 40-person choir, but we also bring in, like, lights and lasers and we have stage show productions as well for some of the numbers. So we're re-creating some of the game scenes. We even have a segment when we come back from Act II(ph) called the interactive symphony starring Frogger, and what we've done is we've taken an old classic arcade game, Frogger, and we randomly pick two people out of the crowd to come on up, and they compete against each other. And while they're playing, the orchestra and the conductor, they're changing and morphing the score to the action on screen.

(Soundbite of Frogger)

MONTAGNE: Now for those who might not know all these video game premises, Frogger.

Mr. TALLARICO: Frogger was a game, a very classic game that came out in 1982, and you get your frog. You've got to get him all the way to the other side, and along the way, depending on what you do, if you hope on logs or you hop on another frog or if you get run over, or if you get into the goal, all sorts of different things can change the music, depending on that. So we have all of those elements at any given time. The orchestra can go into, like, 10 different areas of music, 'cause it's not just one musician. We're talking about 72 musicians all at the same time have to switch on a dime.

MONTAGNE: Well, I'm actually, from the way you describe what you're expecting, wondering if you expect any of the regular concertgoers.

Mr. TALLARICO: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, that's really been one of my goals, and, you know, a lot of people maybe 40-plus think that video game music is a bunch of bleeps and bloops 'cause that's the way it was, but we've come so far in the last 15 years since I've been in the industry. And, you know, video games have truly evolved into our culture, and I think one of the reasons for that is guys like myself who are in our 30s, we were kind of weaned on, you know, Space Invaders and Atari and Pac-Man and things like that. We never stopped playing games. So, you know, within the next 10 or 15 years, there'll be a president of the United States who's a pretty good Halo player, I'm sure.

MONTAGNE: Tommy Tallarico is the executive producer of "Video Games Live," which will be touring the country later this summer. It premieres tonight here at the Hollywood Bowl.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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