How do "serious" classical orchestras feel about doing video game music?

Since video game music became increasingly popular over the past two decades, classical orchestras have signed up to perform concerts for various franchises such as Final Fantasy, Metroid, Castlevania, and others.

My question is, do members of these professional orchestras feel that performing video game music is beneath them? Do any of them lament, “I should be doing Ravel, not Nubuo Uematsu!” Or are they happy to take a break from “accepted” orchestral music to do something fun and new?

Why would they mind, if it’s fun music, not too hard to perform, and pays the bills?

I’ve always thought that classical musicians consider themselves artists and connoisseurs.

Well, obviously each orchestra member is going to have his or her own opinion, but when you sign up to be a part of an orchestra, you resign yourself to having to play whatever they tell you to play. If you want to play Ravel all day then go home and play Ravel. Or start your own All Ravel, All The Time Orchestra.

So the answer to your question is: both. Yes, they would probably like to play something with substance (although I’m sure a lot of those video game scores are surprisingly substantive), but they’re also glad to be working, especially in this day and age.

Yes, but that’s consistent with liking a lot of contemporary music. Just because it’s new and popular does not mean that it lacks serious artistic merit.

I’d feel more bad for them if they were performing the score for a crappy movie.
“Yep, that’s me on the Oboe in The Last Airbender.”

It’s a profession, people take the work when they can get it.

Well, yeah, but that’s irrelevant to the OP’s question. People in all sorts of professions do whatever things are part of their job, but we can still ask how they feel about doing those things.

Yeah, no shit. The OP questions whether there’s some sort of stigma about video game soundtracks. Perhaps individuals have the odd objection, for artistic reasons, but there sure seems to be lots of full orchestras playing in all sorts of new media. Like I said, it’s a profession, a job of work.

There’s nothing that says that the orchestra musicians can’t play video games themselves, in their off time. To someone musically inclined, the replacement of “beep beep boop” with actual orchestral scores would have to be seen as an improvement, and possible an elevation of the video game medium.

There’s actually a show, Video Games Live, that tours around the country, featuring an orchestra performing video game music for a live audience. They don’t seem to feel it’s “beneath them” as they rake in cash and awards…

Video Games Live doesn’t take an orchestra with them, each city they go to has their own orchestra that plays, so the OP applies. AFAIK, Play! is the same way.

I’m a self-taught rock musician who has known, and played with, many classically trained musicians, including professional orchestra members.

I find that, on the whole, classically trained musicians are very open to and supportive of non-classical music. They like music, not just one kind of music.

This is true of musicians in general; you do find snob musicians - the kind who say “that’s not real music” about something they personally don’t care for - but it’s far more common that good musicians are open-minded about music.

Generally the “that’s not real music” types are wannabees or failures, in my experience. In fact, I find that attitude is a pretty good predictor of whether I’ll want to hear the musician in question.

The Eminence Symphony Orchestra, based in Australia, specializes in game and anime music. When I first heard of them, they were doing ensembles which feature anime, game and classical music. I was at one of their live events, and the director of the Symphony flat right-out state that game and anime music is what they are passionate about.

They did an orchestral version of many Blizzard’s musical tracks, and released it as Echoes of War. After that they went on to score the soundtrack for Diablo III.

Many video game composers also do music for films, such as Paul Romero (who did the music for Heroes of Might and Magic series).

I don’t have much experience, but it’s always seemed to me that musical artists tend to have greater respect for other musical artists outside their genre than the general public does. It doesn’t seem unusual that (for example) your hardcore punk rocker turns out to be a Dolly Parton fan. Or your hipster/indie fave likes a lot of Katy Perry stuff. They certainly seem a lot more open minded than their fans usually are.

I’ve never been to the actual recording sessions of the games I’ve worked on, but based on my interactions with composers, the orchestras seem to enjoy the work. It’s an opportunity to play a brand-new composition, not a piece they’ve done a hundred times before.

I don’t know about the ending, but I had no problem with Olivia. I didn’t particularly like Pam, though.

BigT, was that supposed to be in a different thread?

Plenty of people consider themselves artists and connoisseurs. One of them was my waiter at a restaurant the other night. I think most of them prefer to get paid for their talent, even if underutililized.