Kilconnell native scored world’s biggest videogame ever

Eimear Noone

A Galway-born conductor and composer of some of the most iconic music associated with the multi-billion dollar gaming industry is taking her talent home next week for what must be one of the most original festivals Ireland has ever seen.

Eímear Noone – who originally hails from Kilconnell – is the composer of the music that features on World of Warcraft, the highest grossing video game of all time with over ten billion dollars in earnings.

And she is now part of a massive three-day celebration of video game music at the first Dublin International Game Music Festival, (iDIG Music Fest), which takes place from Thursday to Saturday of next week at the Dublin Convention Centre.

Hers is an incredible story because she now splits her time between composing for video games, feature films, TV, commercials, and conducting classical concerts and game music.

Living in Malibu with her husband – Emmy-nominated composer, Craig Stuart Garfinkle – Eímear previously conducted and composed for the Dublin City Concert Orchestra, an ensemble she co-founded at the age of 21 for the performance and promotion of film music and repertoire used in films.

She is now composing and conducting for World of Warcraft and recent expansion, Warlords of Draenor – the score for which won the 2014 “Hollywood Music in Media Award” for “Best Video Game Score” and was nominated for five Game Music Awards.

As a conductor, the Galway native has led many of the world’s great ensembles such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic and the Sydney Symphony, just to name a few.

Raised in Kilconnell, her grandfather Joseph Shea was a celebrated Irish traditional musician – and Eímear herself was introduced to traditional Irish music at the age of just three before beginning her classical training at the age of five.

“I’ve wanted to be a conductor since I was seven, literally,” she said. “I started in the school orchestra when I was fifteen, and anywhere I could get a few musicians together I was doing it.”

Eimear went on to attend Trinity and got involved in the orchestral ensembles that were going on in the college at that time.

“I did DU Orchestra, and was auditor of the Music Society for a couple of years, and then I set up my own orchestra called Dublin City Concert Orchestra with a girl called Gillian Saunders who was in my class,” she said.

In 2011 Eímear conducted and co-produced This is Ireland, a live show with her husband,  Craig, at Royce Hall in Los Angeles for St. Patrick’s Day. Featuring orchestra, gospel choir, actors and soloists, the show starred Irish stars Pierce Brosnan and Roma Downey.

Although best known for these contemporary performances, her background is solidly in Classical Music.

She had the pleasure of conducting the orchestra for the Los Angeles Ballet in their inaugural production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker in 2007.

But now, after conducting sold out performances across the US and Canada, Eímear will conduct and host the first Dublin International Game Music Festival

Only a limited number of full festival tickets are still available, but tickets still available for the festival’s headlining act – Video Games Live! – at 8pm on Saturday week, April 4.

Her husband Craig – himself a composer/director/producer – described this as ‘the perfect orchestral experience for the whole family’.

“It’s half orchestra performance, half rock concert; it uses the power of your favourite game music – Halo, Skyrim, Final Fantasy, Zelda, World of Warcraft and more – videos screens, and stage lights to thrill the audience and introduce a new generation to the joys of orchestral music,” he added.

And Galway’s musical queen of the gaming world is conducting it all.