Interview: Striking A Chord With The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses

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The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert will resound around The NEC in Birmingham this weekend, as Jason Michael Paul Entertainment’s concert tour returns to the United Kingdom to coincide with Insomnia60.

The concert will celebrate 30 years of stirring adventure, complete with live orchestral renditions of the memorable soundtracks that accompanied them – all with oversight and approval from the game’s developers and composers.

It promises a “reimagined score” that will draw on games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

What will excite most, however, is the chance to hear music from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild performed live for the first time.

We had the chance to ask executive producer Jason Michael Paul about the tour as the new season starts, and whether he’s managed to find the time to play Link’s open-air adventure.

Nintendo Insider: I guess I have to start by asking – given the busy worldwide tour schedule – whether you have managed to find any time to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild?

Jason Michael Paul: Of course! Been playing Breath of the Wild since E3. ? This game has further inspired me and heightened my appreciation even further for the Legend of Zelda. It is an amazing game and in my opinion the best Zelda game ever.

NI: Symphony of the Goddesses returns to the UK this weekend but to a gaming festival, I believe, for the first time. How did the idea to hold the concert alongside Insomnia60 in Birmingham come about?

JMP: They contacted me and I was like, let’s make it happen! We were in Birmingham as part of our U.K. tour in October 2016. I am excited to return with a new show. Especially, since it features Breath of the Wild.

NI: I’m sure a key draw for ticket sales will be hearing Breath of the Wild’s score performed live. Given that it is more minimalist and incidental in style, was it more of a challenge to arrange it compared to past games?

JMP: They all have their challenges. We were at the mercy of what had been released at the time we developed the arrangement, and selected the accompanying visuals. I am very pleased with the end result. Fans in Latin America were treated to the premieres of the new pieces. The new additions were very well received!

NI:. I understand that there have been other additions to the programme compared to previous performances. Could you run us through what else has changed and, perhaps, the process behind choosing which pieces are newly orchestrated?

JMP: We added a Skyward Sword movement. This is performed as the first symphony movement due to the timeline and where Skyward Sword appears in that. We also added a new Breath of the Wild Medley, and Ballad of the Windfish with visuals. For non-English speaking countries, we have also localized the testimonials from Mr. Miyamoto, Mr. Aonuma, and Mr. Kondo.

NI: I wondered how involved Nintendo was with that process, or whether you had artistic freedom to choose whatever you feel will resonate with audiences most?

JMP: We present our ideas and they provide feedback initially and then we create the works and submit. Typically, there are minor changes after the direction has been established. Everything that is performed is approved by Mr. Aonuma and Mr. Kondo.

NI: Is there any music that hasn’t been arranged yet that’s high on your wish list?

JMP: Another Breath of the Wild arrangement.

NI: If you could have one instrument from Zelda’s history play with the orchestra, which would you choose?

JMP: In the past we had an Ocarinist perform. I want to do that again. We have two harps perform as part of the concert. The piccolo and flutes pick up the Ocarina parts.

NI: Which is the most fan-requested music that you are asked to play at the concerts?

JMP: It varies. We typically play most of the fan requests.

NI: Are there any plans to release a concert recording – whether that be a CD or DVD?

JMP: Announcement regarding this is coming in the near future. We recorded a live show in Las Vegas. It will be made into a DVD / CD set. Register for the newsletter on The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses website for all the latest news, etc. Come see the show live! We just announced over 50 dates worldwide for our tour schedule.

NI: The tour has been running for nearly six years now. What has been your favourite memory from being able to take it all around the world?

JMP: The best memory was doing the Tokyo show in February 2015 at the Tokyo International Forum. Mr. Aonuma and Mr. Kondo were in attendance. Also, on that trip I traveled to Kyoto Nintendo headquarters where I was honored to hang with Mr. Miyamoto, Mr. Aonuma and Mr. Kondo and shoot testimonials that provide context and background about why some of the things that are Zelda became Zelda.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert will take place at The NEC in Birmingham on Sunday 16th April 2017, with Insomnia60 running between Friday 14th – Monday 17th April 2017. Tickets for the concert are still available, and can be purchased here.

We would like to thank Jason Michael Paul for his time.

Written by

After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.

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