On My Travels

Eimear Noone
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Video game composer Eimear Noone travels the globe with her baton.

Here, Niamh Wade checks in with the talented conductor..

Eimear Noone lives in Malibu, where she creates video game music for the likes of World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Diablo III. It’s a far cry from her childhood in Kilconnell, Co Galway, while a classical music background has seen her perform with international orchestras. Next up: Eimear recently co-produced the Dublin International Game Music Festival (April 2-4;, with her Emmy- nominated composer husband, Craig Stuart Garfinkle.

I always pack …

Earplugs! Also my “Wind Waker” baton. When I was on tour with The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses,
 I would always conduct the Wind Waker movement of the symphony with this talisman from the game. To the fans of the franchise, and myself, this was a magical moment in
 the concert.

The craziest tour destination …

Has been London’s Apollo Theatre, conducting the Royal Philharmonic. This is even though I’ve conducted in China and Brazil, among others. The Apollo is best-known for being rock-oriented rather than classical, which brings a different vibe to the experience. We’d find long-forgotten beer mugs abandoned in the wings!

The closest people on tour …

Are my fellow performers – there’s nothing like it. Performing a symphony on stage is an intense experience that requires absolute and complete focus by every member of the ensemble. As I often say, I have my family, but no less intense is my relationship with the family of musicians I have worked with.

The current project I’m working on …

Is the Dublin International Game Music Festival, at which I’m performing some of the music that I wrote for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, as well as other iconic game music scores such as the theme from Skyrim. We’re also bringing over some of our favourite fellow game-music composers such as Tommy Tallarico, BAFTA nominees Russell Brower, Jason Hayes and Neal Acree, and Grammy nominee Austin Wintory, all of whom will conduct a piece of their own music.

Coming to Ireland …

Is always a homecoming – even for my husband, who grew up in Chicago (we’ve adopted him
 as one of our own). We spend about four months out of every year in either Dublin or the west of Ireland. And for all its notoriety, Malibu – population 16,000 – really has more in common with an Irish village than a city just outside Los Angeles. We know all our neighbours, and there is a real sense of community.

My guilty pleasure is …

Singing along to Metallica and AC/
DC in my car. My body is so programmed that when it hears AC/DC before going on stage
– usually “Back in Black”, and whether or not the programme is Mozart or World of Warcraft – it knows that it’s show time. It’s 
a case of Pavlov’s dog meets hard rock.

If I went on holiday to …

Sydney, Australia, for example, what would I want to do more than anything? All I’d want would be to see the Sydney Opera House and hear the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. That would be my holiday. Honestly, my work is often like being on holiday.

An embarrassing tour moment was …

The first
 time I conducted the Royal Philharmonic in London. My baton disappeared, and my backup had an unfortunate “gardening accident” – a Spinal Tap reference – breaking in two. There was no music store to be found. The reviewers thought conducting without a baton was an artistic choice à la Pierre Boulez … we don’t have to share the truth, do we?

Follow Niamh Wade on Twitter @niamhwade

This article originally appeared in the February issue of Cara Magazine.  



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