Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland video game orchestra in running for European arts prize

Orchestral renditions of classic video game scores, from Mario to Zelda, have earned a Northern Ireland orchestra special recognition in Europe.

The Belfast-based Irish Video Game Orchestra are heading to Novi Sad in Serbia next week after being shortlisted for the 2019 Amateo Award.

Some 65 projects from across Europe competed for the €1,000 prize which celebrates exceptional amateur arts projects that have had a profound impact on their community.

The Northern Ireland musicians will join five other finalists at the Serbian awards ceremony on June 7, which will represent work from the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Serbia.

The Irish Video Game Orchestra is made up of more than 40 young musicians performing the scores of classic games accompanied by video and a light show.

Orchestra member David Bennington said that at their best gigs, the group felt like “classical rock nerd gods” and they were astounded to have been picked as finalists.

“This is big, really, really big for us. We have been so excited about it, we’ve been talking about it non-stop.

“The orchestra is made up of members from both sides of the community from a lot of different backgrounds. Coming together and having something that’s completely neutral that we can bond over, make friends, talk about… it’s really quite amazing."

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