The Inaugural Year: Will Gibbons Lecture—Gamifying Classical Music and Classifying Game Music

Library Meeting Room aka Pillow Room

Open to the public

/ Thursday


Classical music is everywhere in video games. From early arcade classics, to obscure indie titles, to major franchises like BioShock and Civilization, soundtracks are full of classical work. World-renowned classical ensembles perform concerts of game music to sold-out audiences. But what do these combinations of art and entertainment reveal about the cultural value we place on these media? Can classical music ever be video-game music, and can game music ever be classical? By delving into the shifting and often contradictory cultural meanings that emerge when classical music meets video games, this talk explores instances where the lines between the “art” of classical music and the “entertainment” of video games is blurred.

William Gibbons is a musicologist focusing primarily on opera studies and music in film and interactive media. He is the author of Building the Operatic Museum: Eighteenth Century Opera in Fin-de-Siècle Paris (University of Rochester Press, 2013), co-editor of Music in Video Games: Studying Play (Routledge, 2014), and author of the forthcoming new book, Replay Value: The Art of Classical Music in Video Games (Oxford University Press).

In addition to musicological pursuits, Will performs frequently as a collaborative pianist and harpsichordist, specializing in music of the early baroque and music since 1900. Gibbons holds a BA in music (collaborative piano) from Emory & Henry College, and MA and PhD degrees in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the current Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Musicology at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

This event is part of the Inaugural Year series, exploring the theme Democracy and Education. What does Democracy and Education mean to you? Share your thoughts—written or video—with us on social media using the hashtag #SLCDemocracyEducation. See what others are saying at