Tallarico grew up in Springfield, Mass. His family loved music, especially his cousin, Steven (Tallarico) Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith. Tommy Tallarico had a talent for picking up music by ear and, as a child, was able to play “Great Balls of Fire,” by Jerry Lee Lewis. Tallarico also grew up going to movies such as “Star Wars” and “Rocky” with surging classical scores.
“Video Games Live” was created to bring the best aspects of the video-game world to a classical audience and bring gamers into the audience of classical music. Tommy Tallarico sees it as two different branches of the musical family tree fusing together to create an enduring experience.
The performance includes music played by the philharmonic, vocals from the Philharmonic Chorus, and lights and video-game clips synchronized to the music.
For people concerned about video-game violence, Tallarico was quick to point out that the performance doesn't seek to glorify violent video games. In the video-game scenes, the characters may sometimes be carrying weapons, but there is no violent action during the performance.
Tallarico said “Video Games Live” has a universal appeal.
According to the Entertainment Software Association ( www.theesa.com), which tracks statistics of the video game industry, 67 percent of American households play computer and video games. The average age for a video game player is 33 years. Most importantly, 85 percent of video games sold in 2006 carried the E (everyone), E10+ ( age 10 and older), or T (teen) ratings, meaning that the majority of video games sold were not the graphic, violent M-rated (mature) games.
Some symphony musicians Tallarico has worked with were skeptical about music from video games - until they rehearsed the performance and became hooked, he said.
“Video games have evolved into our culture,” Tallarico added. His favorite piece of music is Beethoven's 9th Symphony, known as “Ode to Joy.” Tallarico feels if Beethoven were alive today, he'd be composing music for video games.
Composing a video-game score is similar to a regular score, Tallarico said, but there are differences in the way the composers work. For video games, a composer is given an action scenario, and he writes for what is programmed to happen in the sequence.
The biggest challenge for “Video Games Live” is getting audiences to realize it's not a typical symphony performance.
Tallarico will be the host and emcee, while co-creator Jack Wall will conduct the orchestra. Tallarico wants to see audiences grow for both video games and classical music, but, more important, he feels the show brings together family members who may all have different tastes in music.
Screen to stageWhat: “Video Games Live” with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 15
Where: Embassy Theatre, 121 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Cost: Tickets start at $20 and are available through the Philharmonic box office at 456-2224 or online at www.
Additional information: A pre-show festival open to all ticket holders begins at 6:30 p.m. The festival will include video-game demonstrations, a costume contest and prizes. There is also a post-show meet-and-greet. Both are no additional cost for ticket holders.