This is a bit of a shameless plug, but I do not think it’s without merit. If you’ve never heard of the Videri String Quartet, I encourage you to read on.

The violist, Rosie Samter, started the quartet in 2012. She’s not a gamer, but fell in love with video game music while playing with the Video Game Orchestra. She joined that group while studying at the Boston Conservatory.

The other members of Videri (Aubrey Holmes, Lizzie Jones and Jeremiah Barcus) are from the Conservatory as well; and let’s be clear, the Boston Conservatory is a highly regarded musical institution.

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When I was in Boston recently for PAX East, I crashed at Rosie’s house. I had a chance to learn a lot about the quartet, like how they choose music, which composers they’ve worked with (folks like Austin Wintory, Peter McConnell, Garry Schyman and Dren McDonald) – even how they practice.

About the first – how they choose music – it’s as simple as finding great arrangements of music that make sense. They work with arrangers who understand how to write for a string quartet: a string quartet is a fickle beast – there are four players, each with their own part – it’s intimate, and almost naked. Some of the best music in the world is for string quartet, which would intimidate the heck out of me, personally. People like Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Shostakovich, Bartok, Dvorak, Ravel and Mendelssohn wrote epic string quartets, and I could go on and on.

The Videri players know those famous compositions quite well. They’ve studied them throughout their lives, played many of them, listened to them – they are students of the art.

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When they practice, they record themselves and talk about how to make things sound better. Like all good string quartets, they’re more or less family. They hang out together, make decisions together, travel together. I’ve been around the block enough to know that being in a string quartet isn’t like work or a job; it’s a lifestyle.

You can find out more about them here. I have the Portals album, and it’s great. They have a handful of videos you can watch on the website. I love love love love love the Halo Medley they do. It’s really beautiful.

I’m pretty sure they’re working on another album, and I hope there are more and more and more in the future. What music do you think they should include on their next project?

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Emily Reese is an on-air host for Classical Minnesota Public Radio. She is also the host and producer for Top Score, Classical MPR’s podcast about video game soundtracks, and created MPR’s Listening to Learn series. She earned an undergrad certificate in music education and jazz studies from the University of Colorado — Boulder, and a Master’s degree in music theory from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Emily lives in Twin Cities with her cats Atticus, June Bug and Lee, and loves gaming, with or without friends.