Music from Final Fantasy, a popular role-playing video game series, will be performed in a multimedia concert to be presented in Toronto at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
The March 31 concert, Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy, features award-winning music from the record-breaking Japanese video game series.
Chicago-based Grammy Award-winner Arnold (Arnie) Roth will conduct the 71-member Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the 40-voice Tallis Choir of Toronto. Three local operatic soloists will also perform.
Unique to the Toronto concert is the appearance of Nobuo Uematsu, who composed much of the music for the Final Fantasy series.
Roth says that Uematsu is to video music what Hollywood composer John Williams is to film scores and feels very fortunate that Uematsu will join him on stage in Toronto.
“The most exciting thing is the new arrangement that I wrote that is entitled Final Fantasy VI: Dark World,” Roth says. “We wanted to create a piece, so that the renowned composer would be able to play something live on stage with us.
“He’s a keyboard/piano player. He has agreed to play organ, and I will play the violin. So, the two of us will play the two solo positions with the orchestra on this piece, and we will be playing it in Toronto for the first time.”
Roth says gamers and non-gamers alike will enjoy the Sony Centre concert. “If they are video-game fans, it needs little explanation of what this tour is. We have been touring around the world with this specific tour, Distant Worlds, now into our sixth year.
“Concert programs of the music of Final Fantasy have become legendary. If you are a fan of any video game, you will know some of the most famous titles of music and scenes from Final Fantasy. For instance, the song One Winged Angel is the single most popular piece of music in all of video games,” he says.
“Video gamers are going to know that they are going to hear the most famous classic scores from the past 25 years of Final Fantasy on the stage at the Sony Centre.”
Roth says those who haven’t played the game will also enjoy the show. “If you are not into video games, this is about as legendary and the highest level of introduction as one could get. What you are going to be experiencing is what I would call very cinematic music scores.
“In that way, if you think of some of the most moving, emotional and heroic scores coming from movies, this is squarely in that same writing style and category.
“And, just the sheer size, with well over 100 performers on stage – it is an epic, massive production on every corner of that big stage at the Sony Centre,” Roth adds.
A high-definition video screen will project characters and scenes from the video game above the musicians.
Over the last 25 years, the Final Fantasy franchise has sold more than 110 million copies, becoming the most recognized role-playing game in the world. The story continues to evolve, with unique characters, compelling storylines and engaging game play, driving the series into numerous sequels, live productions and films.
Besides his mega Final Fantasy tours worldwide, Roth has performed with numerous orchestras around the world and is the principal conductor and music director of the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra. He is also a member of Mannheim Steamroller, an orchestra known for modernizing Christmas music. Roth won the best score award at the 2003 DVD Premier Awards for his soundtrack to the film Barbie as Rapunzel. The married father of three and grandfather of three now works with his grown son, Eric, who is also a conductor.
Tickets for Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy can be purchased at the Sony Centre box office, by phone at 1-855-872-7669 or online at www.sonycentre.ca.