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Symphonic orchestras often resort to silly stunts to trick younger crowds into seeing them play. Video Games Live—a multimedia concert with renditions of soundtracks culled from Final Fantasy, Halo, Tomb Raider, Medal of Honor, and the like—is the rare one that works. First performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2005, it has come to be a staple on the classical circuit. This seemingly incongruous relationship between gamers and chamber musicians is, in fact, not so weird: The steady demand for video-game music is an important meal ticket for many otherwise unemployed composers. This time the National Philharmonic takes up the Wii-mote, joined by the Gamer Symphony Orchestra, a student group from the University of Maryland that is, yes, actually for real.
VIDEO GAMES LIVE IS AT 2 AND 8 P.M. AT THE MUSIC CENTER AT STRATHMORE, 5301 TUCKERMAN LANE, NORTH BETHESDA. $35-$69. (301) 581-5100.