Interview with conductor Stefan Geiger
Gamer's Symphony is the title of the concert proposed on Friday, February 2nd, by the "Transylvania" State Philharmonic Orchestra from Cluj-Napoca and the institution's Choir, prepared by Cornel Groza. We learn more details from the conductor of the evening, Stefan Geiger, in an interview given to our colleague, Ioana Țintea.
Stefan Geiger, this Friday, you are going to offer the Cluj audience a concert dedicated to the soundtracks of the most famous video games, a repertoire certainly less covered by other conductors. Please tell us about this project - Gamer's Symphony. For fans of classical music, what surprises can this music hold?
I've been interested in video game music for a long time, even though I, myself, am not a gamer. Over time, I was into the film music, and in 2010s I was approached by other musicians who told me that I should also focus on video game soundtracks because they are as interesting as the cinematic ones. I was the co-founder of a musical composition contest dedicated to young composers of video game soundtracks, and all this time I did intensive research in this direction. To be honest, I found that many of the soundtracks were not worth performing on stage because they were not that interesting, but I discovered some very beautiful titles and we will present them in the concert on Friday, in Cluj.
Indeed some catchy music for sure. It can succeed in winning over the audience every time. How did you design the program for the evening?
The idea behind the program was primarily to present attractive music to the public. So, we're going to perform the soundtracks of some of the most famous games, such as "Clash of Clans" - a cute and funny game that everyone plays on their phone or computer. The public reaction to this music is always the same - especially from those who know the game. It's very funny. And even if the original song isn't great, put into an orchestral arrangement it sounds great! So that's the idea, first of all to bring soundtracks of some really famous games to the public's attention. That, on one hand. On the other hand, there are games that already have fantastically orchestrated music. After the 2000s, video game music experienced a strong evolvement, and nowadays soundtracks are very important for big games. A lot is invested in this sound design side, well-known actors are involved with their voices in games or very good composers who write the music. For example, we have Garry Schyman from Los Angeles, the author of the soundtrack for "Metamorphosis" - a wonderful piece of music that will be premiered in Cluj. We also have soundtracks from games like "Assassin's Creed" or "Fortnite".
How are the rehearsals going so far and how do you describe the collaboration with our Romanian artists?
For many years I have been collaborating with the musicians of the Cluj-Napoca Philharmonic. So the atmosphere is very familiar, we know each other very well. It's funny for me cause the last concert here I conducted Mozart and Beethoven and I liked it very much. And then the musicians asked me to come back the next time with the music from the video games because they knew about my project and so...I did!
Photo credit: Paul Schirnhofer
Translated by Constantin Grigorescu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu