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Zelda Symphony Series: Interview with Conductor Amy Andersson

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August 10, 2018

Zelda Symphony Series: Interview with Conductor Amy Andersson

Amy Andersson shares her most memorable and challenging experience while touring the Zelda Symphony these past 2 years.

by Mai Nguyen, Kalai Chik

Date Published: 06/25/2016

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

APA: How did you become involved with the "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses" tour? Were you familiar with Zelda, the game and its music, before becoming the Music Director and Conductor for the tour?

Amy Andersson: I was invited to become Music Director of the Legend of Zelda after I had worked on the show Replay:Symphony of Heroes, which I conducted at its LA premiere in July 2014 at E3. It was through this that I was then invited to lead Zelda on the current 2-year tour. As far as the music goes, Zelda was familiar to me because my kids played the game. When I finally heard the orchestral rendition, I was amazed at how much I recognized!

APA: You’ve been leading the Zelda tour for two years and have traveled with the show to over 10 countries. How has your experience been on the tour? What is your most memorable moment on the tour?

AA: Touring is both exciting and demanding. There is nothing glamorous about hotels, airplanes and very little sleep. But, it is rewarding to meet fans from so many countries and realize that Zelda transmits profound universal and human themes that we all can relate to. Gosh, all the tours have highlights, but one memorable concert in Rome stands out. Some of our equipment did not arrive, so the orchestra did not have their click track monitors. I did the whole concert syncing the visuals without an audible click track. I just followed the video screen, which is tremendous work with all the tempo changes. I think we were off by only 3 seconds at one point. The orchestra was electrified and after the concert they just cheered, realizing what we had just accomplished. It was a tremendous example of teamwork and sheer determination to do our best for the audience, no matter how daunting the challenge.

APA: What drew you to conducting for video game orchestras? Is there a difference in musical feel between video game orchestral music vs. other orchestral music you’ve conducted?

AA: I am drawn to video game music because of the sheer artistry and beauty in it. There are so many gifted composers writing for video games now; it is indeed a very exciting time. And really the only difference between conducting video game and other symphonic music is that we use a click track to stay in sync with the visuals. There is only that technical difference.

APA: Of all of the songs in the concert, which is your favorite? Why?

AA: I love “Song of Healing” and often my eyes fill with tears when we play it. I guess it is that lyric upward sweep of the melody, and the graceful resolution of the phrase that feels so pure and satisfying. I feel a sense of great peace each time I hear it, as if a cool mist caressed my face.

APA: Some fans have talked about the heavy emphasis on the battle music in this concert, but what is your opinion about the music that was chosen for this concert?

AA: Yes, I have heard some fans say there is too much focus on battle music. I am not involved in any selection of music, so I don’t get involved in that angle. My job really to conduct whatever music is chosen.

APA: For many of these attendees, this will be their first or one of the few experiences they have at attending an orchestra performance. How do you feel about this introduction of orchestra/classical music to people who never considered going to an orchestral concert like this?

AA: Great question! It is an absolute pleasure and an honor for me to introduce a symphony orchestra to first-time listeners. And if Zelda is the musical medium through which this introduction takes place, then we have the created the ideal situation. The tears, the laughter, the joy and the childhood memories that the audience experiences, all while hearing this incredible symphonic music, leaves me ecstatic and deeply satisfied as a musician.

Be sure to check out our other The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of Goddesses coverage!

Symphony of the Goddesses: Zelda Goes to Hollywood

Zelda Symphony Series: Interview with Producer Jason Michael Paul

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Kalai Chik

Kalai Chik

Pop culture writer focusing on animation, music, and games. Los Angeles native, USC alumni, and contributor for Asia Pacific Arts since 2015. Follow me on Twitter, @kalai_chik.