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Where Pokémon meets the symphony

Music

American producer and self-described Nintendo fanboy Jeron Moore says Pokémon is a portal back to childhood for many adults – including himself.

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“It’s going into its 20th anniversary next year and it’s endured,” he says on the eve of the Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions concert in Adelaide.

“It’s one of those franchises that has memorable characters.

“For the older generation, it’s a portal back to their childhood and a time when things were maybe a little more cut and dry; a little more simple.

“And for young children, there’s such an endearing characteristic attitude about the franchise – it’s all about exploration and friendship and teamwork; doing the right thing; learning to cooperate and playing fairly.”

Moore is the creative producer of Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions, a touring show that is riding the wave of a resurgence of interest in video game music.

Composed by Chad Seiter and conducted by his wife Susie Seiter, it comprises new orchestral arrangements of music from new and classic Pokémon games, married with projected visuals.

“It’s fun – it’s kind of like seeing a little mini movie,” Moore says.

“You get to touch upon a bunch of different highlights from the games.”

He says music is a powerful element of the video game experience – especially for Japanese role-playing games such as Pokémon, which present huge worlds to explore.

“Every single instance that you encounter or avenue that you explore has its own melody or underscore.

“You associate the melodies or the music that you are hearing not only with what you were playing but also … with what you were doing at that time in your life.

“I hear the main theme from Super Mario Bros and it transports me instantly to the house I grew up in – sitting in front of the fire with my little 13-inch television.”

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Moore, who is based in Oregon but currently in Australia for the show’s tour, says he has been a Nintendo fanboy ever since his parents gave him a Nintendo Entertainment System when he was about five years old.

While his parents and most of his siblings work in dentistry and orthodontics, he was intent on a career in the entertainment industry.

“I was always kind of creative … I always wanted to do this with my life.

“I wanted to be involved in creating these experiences and sharing them with other people.”

Moore has worked in many different roles in the video game industry, from video production to music direction and editing. His previous concert credits include Play! A Video Game Symphony and The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony.

Classical music purists might be expected to be sceptical about the idea of marrying video games with symphony, but Moore says because the music is “on-trend”, many orchestras embrace it as a way to attract a more diverse audience to the concert hall.

“What we encounter the most, especially with Pokémon, is that the orchestras are genuinely pleasantly surprised by how intricate and emotional and challenging the music is, and they appreciate that.

“They further appreciate it when they have an audience that’s just so passionate about what they are doing.”

And he insists that Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is not just for video-game fans: “We want it to be enjoyable whether you’re a long time fan or a newcomer … you will still be entertained.”

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions will be performed with the Adelaide Art Orchestra at the Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, on Tuesday, November 17.

 

 

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