Few pianists promote video games music with such enthusiasm and dedication as Benyamin Nuss’s.
Thomas Böcker that featured Nobuo Uematsu’s creations.
He took part in memorable concerts organised by Thomas Böcker that featured Nobuo Uematsu’s creations and together with Deutsche Gramofon label recorded an album called Benyamin Nuss plays Uematsu. We hope that this short interview will shed some light on this talented musician.
gamemusic.net: You’ve been playing piano since you were six – was it your personal choice or just a coincidence? How did you further explore your musical side?
Benyamin Nuss: I remember that since I was a little boy my father used the piano in our house for composing, I treated this instrument as a piece of furniture. When I eventually became old enough to “bestride” it, I played my first note and I haven’t left it ever since. I played and experimented with piano. I tried to make the stories and images I imagined as a child true.
gamemusic.net: You often refer to many well known pianists that inspire you (such as Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Horowitz, Ivo Pogorelić or Evgeny Kissin) in your interviews. Do you know any with Polish roots, like Rafał Blechacz or Leszek Możdżer?
Benyamin Nuss: I know that great pianists like Krystian Zimerman, Józef Hoffmann and, without any doubt, Rafał Blechacz come from Poland. Each one of them is inspirational in his own way.
gamemusic.net: Until you picked up playing video games music three years ago on concerts organised by Thomas Böcker, you had been mainly performing classical music from many different periods. From a pianist point of view, how different are these two branches of music?
Benyamin Nuss: There are many differences, especially between romanticism and video gamemusic. What they have in common, though, is that they have a leading theme that corresponds with each piece’s mood. Game music is a combination of classical, jazz, pop and electronic music – most notably in Uematsu’s creations.
gamemusic.net: You took part in Symphonic Legends concert in Stockholm and in Symphonic Odysseys in Cologne, however the audience liked you best at 2009’s Symphonic Fantasies. Which of the events was a bigger challenge for you and which one did you like the most?
Benyamin Nuss: In my opinion Symphonic Fantasies was an amazing event, because melodies from many games were turned into a huge “fantasy”. I have never experienced something like that before. Most importantly the arranged pieces were chosen from games with the best music. Also, Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Hiroki Kikuta and Yoko Shimomura were present there as well as Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo from WDR.
I was surprised that most of the audience were young people, that’s not common for normal “evenings with a piano”. – Benyamin Nuss
gamemusic.net: Surely you had some experience with video games in your life. Have you ever considered to stop learning and take up composing, perhaps for video games?
Benyamin Nuss: Even though video game music always appealed to me I never thought of composing for games. I do sometimes compose, but playing the piano is the activity that gives me the most joy.
gamemusic.net: A year ago you participated in an exceptional tour preceding your solo project Nuss plays Uematsu and played over 20 concerts in Germany. Are your recollections of that period of time pleasant?
Benyamin Nuss: All the concerts were extraordinary – I was surprised that most of the audience were young people, that’s not common for normal “evenings with a piano”. It was nice to see elderly people, who, even though not knowing much about video games, still appreciated Uematsu’s creations.
gamemusic.net: The Benyamin Nuss plays Uematsu album was released by Deutsche Gramofon (Universal) label. According to my sources it’s been quite successful for niche music. Could you tell us what led to creation of this album and how did Nobuo Uematsu react to it?
Benyamin Nuss: I came up with the idea for this album after Symphonic Fantasies. I hadn’t known that video game music was played in concert halls. When I heard Jonne Valtonen and Roger Wanamo performing themes from Secret of Mana, Kindgom Hearts, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy I decided to do the same, but on the piano.
gamemusic.net: Two months ago you played concert Benyamin Nuss plays Uematsu in Essen. Are you happy with how it went and did you give some thought to playing a similar one in Poland?
Benayamin Nuss: Yes, the concert in Essen was amazing and I would love to perform in Poland.