18 March - Barbican, London
20 March – Leeds Town Hall, Leeds
Gaming is a worldwide phenomenon, but few of the millions that know its soundtracks intimately have had the opportunity to experience them - and an orchestra – live. Acclaimed conductor Charles Hazlewood’s pioneering PLAY! project is set to change all this, with the help of his incredible 21st century orchestras.
PLAY! presents a thrilling symphonic roller-coaster ride of classic computer game themes alongside the orchestral works that paved the way. These unique concerts join the dots like no other. Taking Holst’s The Planets and Strauss’s iconic tone poems as a starting point, the programme includes the high-octane pursuit of Grand Theft Auto, legendary theme to Tetris, cinematic soundtrack to Final Fantasy VIII, billion download sensation Angry Birds and many more.
To close the concert, a brand new micro symphony has been written by Lloyd Coleman, composer and Associate Music Director of the Paraorchestra which will nod affectionately to the brilliance of these iconic soundtracks.
First performed to a rapt audience at Glastonbury Festival 2017, PLAY! is conducted by Hazlewood and performed by a 44 piece ensemble of musicians from the electrifying Army of Generals and members of the world’s only professional collective of disabled musicians, The British Paraorchestra.
“You can draw a direct line from many of these classic computer game themes and great jewels of orchestral music like Holst’s The Planets or Strauss’ Tone Poems. They share so much DNA. Computer games are and always have been addictive; they get under your skin and so does the music, which in most cases has a direct relationship with classical and orchestral music, so people are already familiar with what we do. By playing them live, we’re having great fun together, but also bringing people in to get blown away by what an orchestra can do” Charles Hazlewood
Previous projects delivered by Hazlewood in collaboration with The British Paraorchestra and Army of Generals include the ground-breaking Kraftwerk-re:werk which took a wild symphonic adventure through the iconic album Trans Europe Express at Simple Things Festival, Bristol 2017. Plus another Glastonbury performance in 2016 of Philip Glass Heroes Symphony which was also televised, before touring prestigious venues with both Glass’ Heroes and Low symphonies.