Bradley University students will have their video game music performed by a professional orchestra
Two senior music composition students will be the first in Bradley University's history to have their original music performed by a professional orchestra.
In collaboration with the Heartland Festival Orchestra, seniors Xavier Chapman and Jonah Sendlin have formatted their original videogame soundtracks for orchestral performance.
Chapman said the process of turning digital sound into orchestral music is a unique process.
“The first thing that I do is I sit down with the project leads and the people who are working on sound design to get an idea of what they're going for, what the gameplay is, like, do you want it to be repetitive? Or is it story driven, all that stuff,” Chapman said.
Sendlin said he follows the same process, noting it takes group collaboration and understanding to create the appropriate soundscape for videogames created by Bradley interactive media students.
“It's always interesting when you're working with video games, people who might not always know the music terms that they're trying to describe” Sendlin said. “So one of our jobs is when they say something like, I want this to be happy. I want this to be sad, you try to do what they want.”
Both Sendlin and Chapman said it was exciting to have their work performed professionally.
Sendlin said his work had not been heard outside of class before this opportunity.
“I've been performing here for four years, and nothing has really gotten out of the campus, let alone a full fledged professional orchestra. So I'm very excited to hear it,” he said.
Chapman said he hopes this will be a step forward in beginning his career.
“It's gonna look really good on my portfolio. I'm hoping that I can show it to game studios, because that's what I want to do for video games. And hopefully they'll see it and be like, huh, he has a lot of experience and had a lot of success in this, maybe we should think about hiring him,” he said.
This hope is shared by both students and their instructors.
Lynnsey Lambrecht, an assistant professor of music theory and composition at Bradley University,said she was excited to pursue this opportunity with the Heartland Festival Orchestra.
“When I came to Bradley, five years ago, our music department collaborated with the Department of interactive media to have student composers write music for the games that the students were designing in their game design capstone project,” she said. “So this collaboration allowed the composers to work every year on video game scores.”
Lambrecht worked closely with her students on dissecting their pieces and matching them to their game’s requirements.
“Most of the time these folks are composing in digital audio workstations, so they have all digital representations of their sounds, to create these effects for the music,” she said. “A special process that they went through to
convert this for orchestra was orchestrating out this digital audio for live performers. So everything that they had digitally is now being featured by live professionals.”
Todd Kelly, chair for the Department of Music, said this opportunity represents the success the music department has had over the last five years.
“We are bursting at the seams with composers right now, which is a really wonderful problem to have. And one thing that's really unique about our composition program is we really are very forward thinking,” Kelly said, “And that's Dr. Lambrecht and her philosophy, you know, we're doing things here, we're teaching these students to do things so that they can build careers doing these kinds of things.”
The Heartland Festival Orchestra will perform Video Games in Concert from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Five Points Washington.
In addition to student composition, the orchestra will erform music from World of Warcraft, Halo, God of War, The Last of Us, and more. The Bradley Chorale will be performing alongside the orchestra.
Listen to Jonah Sendlin’s score and play the game Bellissimo here.
Listen to Xavier Chapman’s score and play the game Disaster Golf here.
For more information on the concert, visit heartlandfestivalorchestra.org