Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | March 7, 2024

Bringing Nintendo Classics to Grace Cathedral: Nintendo in Concert 


Just in time to close this month’s Game Developers Week, the video game industry conference being held at Moscone Center, Grace Cathedral welcomes the return of Sixth Station Trio to perform the iconic music from Nintendo video games on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23. The San Francisco-based trio features Katelyn Tan on piano, Anju Goto on violin, and Federico Strand Ramirez on cello. The Trio’s members, who met at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School for the Arts, are not only classical musicians but avid gamers who grew up playing Nintendo games. Their goal is to further uplift video game music to the classical music repertoire and bring gamers to the classical music world.

We spoke with pianist Katelyn Tan to learn more about the group’s approach to this “unorthodox” music and what audiences can expect when they perform it at Grace Cathedral.

What do you think about performing this music inside Grace Cathedral?  

Performing this music at Grace Cathedral is such a wonderful privilege for us. Grace Cathedral is a historical landmark and so many musicians have performed in the space, so it’s definitely a rite of passage for us. We are so appreciative of how open and accepting Grace Cathedral has been in allowing us to program non-traditional classical music.

How does Grace Cathedral’s 6-second reverb affect the music and its performance?

I think the reverb, although challenging to maneuver, can often add a unique sound to our playing that we don’t get playing at other venues. We’ve learned to use the reverb to our advantage, using it to create different textures and timbres in our playing and sometimes even for musicality and phrasing. 

What are your thoughts on major orchestras playing video game music and its popularity over the last few years?

We love that major orchestras are starting to program more video game music and non-traditional repertoire. It’s a wonderful way to get new listeners into the classical music scene, who otherwise may have never decided to attend a classical performance. Many of our audience members have told us that they’ve never been to a classical concert before and that we were their first experience of classical music. 

What is the trio’s artistic process in arranging this music? Does some game music work better than others?

We have so much fun arranging this music. It’s been a wonderful learning process for us, since we are self-taught in arranging. We usually do a combination of transcribing and score studying, if we have access to the original scores. We always make sure to reference the original recordings, and we compose new parts to pieces; for example, if we need a more resolved ending, we’ll create our own. Oddly enough, there have been pieces that I thought wouldn’t work well for our ensemble that ended up fitting our trio really well. People are often surprised at how well a piano trio can recreate the fullness of an 80-100-person orchestra. We may only be 3 people, but that puts no limitation on the diversity of sounds we can create. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the magic of Nintendo classics reimagined in a stunning cathedral setting. Whether you’re a seasoned classical music lover or a devoted gamer, Sixth Station Trio welcomes you to be part of this extraordinary musical journey. Join us at Grace Cathedral on Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 pm for an unforgettable concert experience. Let’s celebrate the power of music to unite and inspire us all.

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