July 20, 2024

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The Anthem hosts ‘To Shiver the Sky’ by 1st composer to win Grammy for video game

This Sunday, Christopher Tin premieres “To Shiver the Sky” live at The Anthem in D.C.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Christopher Tin at The Anthem (Part 1)

He’ll go down in history as the first composer to win a Grammy for scoring a video game.

This Sunday, Christopher Tin premieres “To Shiver the Sky” live at The Anthem in D.C.

“It was an album released in 2020, but unfortunately because of the pandemic we had to postpone the world premiere,” Tin told WTOP. “It’s finally happening. The orchestra is the U.S. Air Force Band. … The vocal parts are sung by their Singing Sergeants and well as the Choral Arts Society of Washington with special guest stars Modern Medieval.”

The 90-minute concert is free but please reserve tickets via Washington Performing Arts.

“That’s one of the perks of working with the U.S. Air Force Band,” Tin said. “Part of their mandate is that all of the events that they put on have to be free for the taxpaying public.”

As the title suggests,” To Shiver the Sky” charts mankind’s journey in flight.

“‘To Shiver the Sky’ is an 11-movement piece about the history of aviation,” Tin said. “What I’ve done is taken the words of 11 of aviation’s great pioneers, visionaries, scientists and astronomers and set them to music, so we have words from people like Leonardo da Vinci, Yuri Gagarin, Amelia Earhart, Jules Verne, Copernicus and many other seminal figures.”

Not only are the pieces roughly chronological, they are presented in the original language of each figure, from the Italian of Leonardo da Vinci to the Polish of Copernicus.

“It weaves the story of mankind’s desire to conquer the stars from our earliest days of just looking up at the sky and imagining ourselves up there, until the climatic finale which is actually a setting of John F. Kennedy’s ‘We Choose to Go to the Moon’ speech,” Tin said.

Each of the movements is paired with corresponding images on a giant screen.

“There is a big projection screen behind you that will show the performers as the concert is going on, but interwoven into that is footage from the era of that particular movement or accenting what that movement is about,” Tin said.

“During the Jules Verne movement there’s a lot of footage from early cinema, particularly French filmmaker Georges Méliès.”

Tin also will perform “Baba Yetu” from his Grammy-winning video game “Civilization IV.”

“‘Baba Yetu’ is actually a Swahili setting of the Lord’s Prayer for chorus and orchestra, as well as a couple of soloists. It’s a rousing, robust, inspirational setting of the prayer. It’s very rhythmic, it’s got kind of an African flavor to it. It should be a lot of fun.”

It might even inspire you to go back and play the hit video game from 2011.

“‘Civilization IV’ is a turn-based strategy game where you found a civilization from the earliest days as settlers, hunters and gatherers until you reach the modern age where your civilization hopefully blossoms as a full-fledged modern civilization and you achieve one of the possible endings of the game, which includes putting a man on the moon,” Tin said.

To this day, it remains his all-time favorite video game.

“I certainly played all of the early Nintendo titles when the console first came out, but ‘Civilization’ is honestly the game that I probably logged the most hours playing,” Tin said. “It is incredibly addicting. Once you get into that world, you find yourself staying up all night just playing the game obsessively. It’s a very good game and very addicting.”

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Christopher Tin at The Anthem (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.