January 26, 2022 — To give video game soundtracks the respect and attention they deserve, the Game Music Foundation will soon be returning to the stage of London’s Royal Festival Hall with the fourth iteration (Vol. 4) of its innovative and much-appreciated orchestral, live event Game Music Festival.
“The Ori games’ live event is called ‘The Symphony of the Spirits’ while ‘The Jazz of Cuphead’ will be the name of Cuphead’s soundtrack performance.”
There are key elements to every video game that, when perfected, help amplify the experience into something memorable. Gameplay and visuals are often touted as the most important, but a beautiful action sequence against a sprawling battlefield would feel empty without a booming score to set the tone.
Scheduled for March 5 — 6, 2022, the auditory event will feature music from Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Ori and the Blind Forest. The ‘Ori’ soundtracks will be performed in a medley-like arrangement called ‘The Symphony of the Spirits’ by the world-class Philharmonia Orchestra.
Music from the whimsical, cartoonish world of Cuphead will be brought to life by seasoned big band Bartosz Pernal Orchestra, also performing a live arrangement dubbed ‘The Jazz of Cuphead’.
In addition, a roster of talented artists will fill the Royal Festival Hall in London with recognizable tracks from some of indie gaming’s most notable titles. Cuphead alone should inspire excitement as the old-timey sound helped round out the chaotic and complicated gameplay that has since inspired the game’s highly-anticipated, upcoming DLC and even an animated TV series.
Guest composers like Gareth Coker who is the creative mind and musician behind the ‘Ori’ series and titles like ARK: Survival Evolved and Halo: Infinite will be present at the event. Kristofer Maddigan who gave Cuphead its signature sound will also be on-site, as will guests like Polish conductor Robert Kurdybacha, big band leader Bartosz Pernal, woodwind soloist Kristin Naigus, and BBC radio host Louise Blain.
While the concerts are the highlight of the two-day event, the Game Music Foundation will also set up panel discussions and masterclass workshops. While the full schedule of Vol. 4 has yet to be revealed, the organizers offered the following by way of its website;
“…participants will be able to see the backstage of how audio is created for games and improve their competencies and learn many tips and tricks.”
2022 marks the fourth Game Music Festival and the first time the event has left its home of Wroclaw, Poland. According to the foundation, it made the move because its “mission has been spreading internationally” since the first concert in 2018. “Producing a fully-fledged festival abroad in a prestigious venue was one of our aspirations, so when an opportunity arose, we decided to seize it and make this dream come true”, the foundation explained in an FAQ. What that means for the future of the festival is still up in the air, though the foundation does note that it will return the concert to Poland “when the circumstances are favorable”.
Tickets to Game Music Festival 2022 are currently available online at gmfest.com. Attendees will need to purchase individual tickets for each day. On March 5, Gareth Coker will spearhead ‘The Symphony of the Spirits’, and the following day, Kristofer Maddigan will kick off ‘The Jazz of Cuphead’ with an evening of songs from the devilish run-and-gun Xbox exclusive from 2017. On the event’s first day, attendees will have access to the meet-and-greets, various panels, and some of the brightest minds in contemporary video game music and sound design.
For those unable to attend the concert, the Game Music Foundation notes it is attempting to work through the complicated process of organizing an online stream. Yestermade™ has been in touch directly with the event’s live stream team, so expect more information to become available about the broadcast soon.