New World Players chamber ensemble performs the music of Final Fantasy

On Saturday, March 19, Rackham Auditorium hosted the New World Players chamber ensemble’s performance of “A New World: Intimate Music from ‘Final Fantasy.’” The small orchestra was led by conductor Eric Roth, who received his BA from the University of Michigan .

“Final Fantasy” is a widely praised fantasy media franchise best known for its 15+ different installations of the “Final Fantasy” video game series. Although distinct versions of the games feature new settings and plots, they maintain a few central characters and a similar plot of emotionally motivated heroes defeating an evil force. The original game was released in 1987, and it still draws a massive community of loyal fans today. Accordingly, the “Final Fantasy” franchise has earned more than $11.7 billion in sales, making it one of the top-grossing video game franchises to ever exist.

The music of “Final Fantasy” has enjoyed great stand-alone success as well. Video game fans and music historians alike look to Nobuo Uematsu’s scores as a case study for what it takes to change an industry. Many games at the time had simple motifs, like the Pac-Man theme, but Uematsu’s complex work provided lush instrumentation within the limited technology of the time, elevating the standard for video game music.

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