Dot’s Reading Room: Video Games Creating a New Generation of Classical Music Fans

September 6, 2023
Dot's Reading Room by Dorothy Bergin

Hello gamers! What do you know about Starfield, the greatly anticipated video game that is being released today, Sept. 6?

Players can build their own character and spacecraft and travel to any one of a thousand or more planets. The soundtrack is said to be equally epic with audio director Mark Lampert describing the game’s music as a “companion to the player,” with a “sense of scale” that “had to be totally readjusted,” he said in talking about the sound design.

Soundtracks for outer space have appeared in many films – “Star Wars,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Interstellar,” to name a few.  Music for these films is familiar to millions of us, and is now part of our musical heritage, whether or not we saw the movie.

An orchestra director and Assistant Professor of Music at Wake Forest University says video games such as Starfield are creating a new generation of classical music fans. In a recent article for “The Conversation,” Professor J. Aaron Hardwick, writes:

“Utilizing a palette of musical language that cultivates a contemplative soundscape, it launches the listener into the vastness of space while remaining curious, innocent, and restrained. If you close your eyes, you can imagine it being performed in the concert hall.

“That’s exactly what happened prior to the game’s release when the London Symphony Orchestra performed the “Starfield Suite” before a sold-out audience at the Alexandra Palace Theatre, one of the world’s most prestigious concert halls.

As a conductor, musician, and educator, I’m excited about games like “Starfield” because they’re drawing people to symphonic music like never before.”

The Boston Globe’s music critic A.Z. Madonna wrote, “Thanks to video games, I fell in love with classical music.”

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