North American Conference on Video Game Music comes to U-M's Ann Arbor campus

The 5th annual event will take place Jan. 13-14

"Video Game Music" is one of the most popular courses at U-M's School of Music, Theatre & Dance
"Video Game Music" is one of the most popular courses at U-M's School of Music, Theatre & Dance

ANN ARBOR – For the first time, the University of Michigan is hosting the annual North American Conference on Video Game Music.

The conference will take place Jan. 13-14 at U-M's School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Matthew Thompson, assistant professor at U-M's SMTD, is the lead organizer of the conference and will be presenting as well. A classically trained pianist who teaches a popular video game music course at U-M, he is considered a leading expert on the topic.


U-M assistant professor of music Matthew Thompson (Courtesy: University of Michigan)

"The number one reason that video game music exists is to increase immersion," Thompson said. "Early on, the programmers were the same people who composed. Game audio has progressed so much since then, that now there are huge music budgets for these AAA games that are recorded by the top orchestras in the world and highly interactive, complex musical scores."

Thompson also says video game music is incredibly recognizable, more so than people might imagine.

"Back in the late '90s, the Michigan Daily interviewed a bunch of U-M students to see how many people they could find that could hum the Super Mario Bros. theme song, and they couldn't find anyone who didn't know the tune," he said. "It's kind of amazing if you think about how ubiquitous it is in our culture."

(Courtesy: University of Michigan News)

Keynote speakers include William Gibbons and Marty O'Donnell, and brings together scholars and professionals in the fields of music theory, media studies, musicology, ethnomusicology, composition, sound studies and more to discuss all facets of music in video games. 

Read more about this year's keynote speakers here.

Past conferences have been held at Youngstown State University, Texas Christian University, Davidson College and University of Texas at Austin.

Learn more about the conference and see this year's program here.

Follow conference updates on Twitter using the hashtag #NACVGM.


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