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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Classical Games

What is bringing classical and video game music together? This Irish woman

Eimear Noone will conduct a special concert next week.

NEXT FRIDAY THE National Concert Hall will play host to a world first.

There, the musical worlds of gaming and classical music collide with Video Games Classic, a concert of major video game soundtracks and classical music.

The concert will see RTÉ’s National Symphony Orchestra come under the control of an award-winning Galway composer who marries the two styles.

Eimear Noone is currently based in Los Angeles, where she has become arguably the world’s premier conductor of video game scores, both in the studio and in the concert hall. Eimear’s broad range of credits include major games such as Heroes of The Storm, StarCraft II, Metal Gear Solid, Hearthstone, Overwatch and the BAFTA nominated score to Diablo III.

Speaking to from a hotel in Budapest, she says that the idea and execution are a long time in the making.

“It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time, but I’ve been touring since 2011.

“I know gamers love the backstory – the people behind the work – but this is a way to show the thought process behind the pieces.”

Craig Stuart Garfinkle / YouTube

That thought process, she says, is seen throughout what we think of as “modern” orchestral music.

“I’ve listened to [video game music] and gone – oh, there’s a Stravinsky reference, there’s a Holtz reference – this a smart audience and a very grown-up show.

“I’ll be sharing what I see in the pieces and let people go into their own headspace and do their own thing.”

So, what can people expect next week?

“All of my favourite pieces are in the show. It’s like my own mixtape for my friends. This is the concert I would want to go to.

We don’t need visuals, we don’t need any bells and whistles. When you hear Resident Evil next to Firebirds, it makes sense. When you hear Final Fantasy 8 next to Mozart, it makes sense.

“They were written 150 years apart but are so alike.”


Next Friday will see Eimear take charge of Ireland’s national orchestra for the first time, but it will be her ninth national orchestra.

Which is not bad going for a native of Kilconnell in Galway.

“One of things that fascinates me is being able to communicate wordlessly with orchestras – I don’t speak Chinese or Hungarian. It’s a whole other level. A good conductor will come up with an interesting interpretation and inspire the orchestra. Musicians are the same kind of soul – just from a different culture.

“Sometimes audiences say they can see the music.

The Philadelphia Orchestra was special for me. I grew up listening to them. Sydney Opera House was another where I couldn’t believe where I was standing. And the Royal Philharmonic were absolute rock stars. There have been so many.

With just days to go, Noone has a special word for the team at RTÉ.

“I have to commend the team at the National Symphony Orchestra for pursuing this. They’re taking a leap of faith – this has never been done before.

“I want to show people that this is how we do it in Ireland.”

Video Games Classic takes place Friday, 2 December at 8pm in the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Tickets priced from €20-€45 are available here.

Read: “He watched the Late Late Show”: The night an unknown Jeff Buckley played the Trinity Ball

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