Video game music gets symphonic spin

Mario and Luigi. Sephiroth. Master Chief. Aside from their video game origins, they are each animated by iconic musical scores.

On Saturday, the Frost School of Music is turning into a symphonic arcade. The Henry Mancini Institute (HMI) Orchestra will perform “Frost Plays: Video Game Music,” a concert with music from the history of video games such as “Super Mario Bros.,” “Pong,” “Final Fantasy,” “BioShock,” “Halo,” “Warcraft” and more.

HMI will perform in collaboration with the Frost Concert Jazz Band and Frost Jazz Vocal One Ensemble and Extensions.

“This is an exciting time, as students are playing music written by their colleagues in a concert that was designed and produced by more of their colleagues,” said Derek Ganong, vice chair of the HMI Arts Committee and a jazz trumpet student.

Voiceover artist Gene Farber will host the concert. Farber is known for his work in the games “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and “Killzone: Shadow Fall.”

The program will also include two new suites written for HMI by professional video game composers Trevor Morris and Garry Schyman. Morris’s credits include composing for the video games “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” “Command & Conquer Three: Tiberium Wars” and “Marvel Ultimate Alliance Two.” Schyman has composed for the games “Dante’s Inferno,” “BioShock” and “BioShock Infinite.”

“The sonic depictions of video game narratives come in various forms: from those witty enough to make one giggle to sounds so epic that they transform how one feels about their life while listening to the music,” said Ksenija Komljenovic, an HMI committee member and a graduate assistant at the Frost School. “This concert is a journey through stories known to all.”

Ganong said that every aspect of this concert, from the brainstorming to the production to the music and the musicians, has been of superb quality.

“This is not simply a student concert, but rather, it shows that the future of music really is here at the Frost School and that it is more than just sitting in a practice room,” he said.


The concert is just one of several events HMI has planned as part of its “Frost Plays: Video Game Music.” Other video-game related events include a Super Smash Bros. tournament, a panel discussion and an “interactive experience” that features retro video game consoles.

The Super Smash Bros. Wii U Tournament will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the University Center Storm Surge Room. The tournament will be single elimination and will be capped at 32 participants. The finals will be a one-on-one match-up that will be live-streamed to the big screen in Gusman Concert Hall during the concert’s intermission. The winner will receive a prize provided by Games Exchange of South Miami.

The panel discussion on “The Art of Composing for Video Games” will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Gusman Concert Hall. Morris, Schyman and Gerard Marino will lead the discussion about composing for video games and what it is like working in the industry and take questions from the audience. Gerard Marino’s credentials include “God of War I, II and III,” “Spiderman: Edge of Time” and “DC Universe Online.”

Frost Plays will also host an “interactive experience” at 7 p.m. Saturday held on the Outside Patio of the Gusman Concert Hall. Participants will have a chance to play on retro video game consoles, see costumed video game characters and enjoy a photo booth.

For information on tickets and streaming of the event, visit