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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: September 26, 2012 Archive

Leif Ove Andsnes on the edge

Posted at 9:41 AM on September 26, 2012 by Alison Young (0 Comments)


Love this photo of Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. It catches him relaxed, focused, with music on his mind and a job to do as his piano perches thousands of feet in the air atop a mountain.

Leif climbs many mountain passes in tonight's Carnegie Hall Live concert - a reprise of selections from his solo recital (and a couple of other hot ticket names) that we broadcast live here on Classical-MPR.

And what a concert! Haydn, Bartok, Debussy, Chopin - a whirlwind. Don't miss it tonight at 8:00.

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Top Score at PAX Prime 2012

Posted at 10:48 AM on September 26, 2012 by Emily Reese (2 Comments)

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure to attend PAX Prime in Seattle, along with more than 70-thousand others. PAX is similar to conferences like Comic-Con, but its focus is on video game and table-top games.

I was invited to PAX to moderate a panel, where I interviewed five game composers in front of a packed audience of more than 600 game-music fans. It was a thrill to represent Classical MPR and to introduce Top Score to new faces and ears.

Jesper Kyd, Martin O'Donnell, Inon Zur, Sam Hulick and Michael McCann have each written music that courses through the blood of gamers. As I introduced each composer, fans chanted their names in appreciation and praise.

When tickets to attend PAX went up for sale in advance of the conference, all 70k of them sold out in a matter of days. We were advised by PAX "Enforcers" (security) to keep our badges down our shirts if we walked outside, as badge-less thieves were ripping lanyards right from inattentive necks.

I interviewed the composers for about 40 minutes, at which time we opened a single, standing microphone for questions. I'd no sooner said, "Let's open the floor for...," and people ran... yes, ran... to the mic to line up.

At the conclusion, we went to a table outside for Jesper, Michael, Martin, Sam and Inon to sign anything and everything brought to them.

The memorabilia brought to the table varied from old game t-shirts to CDs to records to programs to cases games came inside. It was great to see some of the vintage posters some of the people had as well.

I'd never been to Seattle before, I'd never been to a convention like PAX before, and I'd certainly never interviewed five people in front of 600 before. It was incredible.

I chose a personal favorite theme for each of the composers I interviewed at PAX so you can get an idea of the variety of their music below. It made for an interesting conversation, since Michael, Martin, Sam, Inon and Jesper all have widely differing backgrounds.

Martin O'Donnell is best known for his work on the Halo franchise, having written for five of the six games currently available. Jesper Kyd, for his work on Assassin's Creed and the three subsequent games in the AC franchise, in addition to Borderlands (1 & 2), the Hitman series and Darksiders II. Sam Hulick is the only composer who's worked on all three Mass Effect games, as well as Red Orchestra 2. Inon gets standing ovations for his work on the Dragon Age series, the Fallout series, Rift, Lord of the Rings: War in the North and many, many more.

In alphabetical order of composer last name:

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