New Heights for Angel City Chorale: The Making of “Sogno di Volare”

It’s on the verge of unbelievable when an award-winning composer extends an invite to perform a piece of music written for an award-winning video game, and then to have the honor of recording it where the biggest band of all time recorded. But that’s just what befell Angel City Chorale the summer of 2016.

Christopher Tin, perhaps best known for his composition “Baba Yetu” from Civilization IV, carried on his successful video game composing streak when he next composed the title theme “Sogno di Volare” for Civilization VI. With lyrics adapted from Leonardo Da Vinci’s notes on the subject, exhilarating rhythms and soaring orchestration capture what Tin calls “the essence of flight.”

While “Baba Yetu” won the first Grammy ever awarded to a piece of music written for a video game , Tin has garnered numerous awards, including two Grammys, two Game Audio Network Guild Awards and the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize. For the record, Civilization VI won a Game Critics Award for Best Strategy Game of 2016.

Under the guidance of its creative director Sue Fink, ACC has had the honor of premiering and recording many of Tin’s compositions. This past July Tin invited the choir to Abbey Road Studios to record “Sogno di Volare.” ACC member and board president Leena Mathew says the piece is “perhaps one of the most inspiring compositions by Christopher.” Stepping inside the historic building where The Beatles once recorded evoked awe in choir participants. ACC member and composer Mary Kate Jiménez-Wall agreed, “Recording this piece was a dream come true on multiple levels. I’ve always wanted to take part in recording music for games, but to do so at such a legendary place and with one of my favorite composers was beyond incredible.”

A behind-the-scenes video of the recording gives a rare glimpse into the excitement of the event, the exuberance of Sue Fink’s leadership and the beauty of Tin’s music. Incorporating ACC’s performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert conducted by Tin at Cadogan Hall in London, it highlights the hard work and joy of this noteworthy collaboration.

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