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Original fantasy music release by violinist & composer Julia Okrusko
Original fantasy music release by violinist & composer Julia Okrusko
Original fantasy music release by violinist & composer Julia Okrusko
253 backers pledged $9,897 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Fantasy Symphony No.1, "Dragonborn" - Album Release

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I started composing fantasy music in 2011, after performing with Video Game Orchestra at Boston Symphony Hall. After 20 years of pursuing a classical music career, I was inspired by film and video game soundtracks, and I began writing my own fantasy music for violin, symphony orchestra, and choir, soundtracks and arrangements for film, games, and concerts.

And I want to thank you for making it all possible! In 2013, I came to Kickstarter with a dream - to release "Legends: Fantasy Violin" and "Excalibur" - and I was blown away by all the support, inspiration, and help with the projects. Thanks to you this music was recorded and published, and thanks to you I continue writing and working on composition techniques, production technology, and ways to grow my musical ideas.

I wrote a fantasy symphony, and I am so proud and happy to have prepared this musical experience that I would love to share with you. With your help, the symphony can be recorded and produced, and released as a CD and digital download featuring live and synthetic instruments. Your support would allow for recording, mixing, mastering, cover design, and the manufacturing of the discs.

Inspired by Skyrim

When I first played Skyrim, I felt enormous gratitude to the creators of this game for putting so much talent and thought into developing a world of fantasy with such incredible gaming aesthetics and profound mythology. I loved Skyrim for its beauty, freedom, and imagination. I loved the complexity of the production and science that went into putting this giant living world on a small game disc. I wanted to write a piece of music that would reflect my journey in Skyrim and my admiration for Dragonborn's power and missions. I felt that this piece of music would call for expansive instrumentation and timing to express both external and internal realities of being immersed in the world of fantasy - and I decided to write a symphony.

When it comes to video games, I have always been curious to try new experiences, and most of the time - as excited I was about the concept and presentation - I would eventually get bored. I am not very good at shooting and operating under more stressful circumstances, and I would often struggle within the plot lines where I was supposed to perform certain actions in order to move forward with the game. Maybe I wasn't keeping up with the right games! - when I discovered Skyrim, I couldn't believe how flexible and versatile the gameplay was. I walked around this fantasy world freely, exploring at my own pace its mythology, and taking on the quests I believed in.

On a new level, I got to identify with my character, and internalize the choices and the power available to Dragonborn (Dovakiin). (In Skyrim's Dragon language, "Dovahkiin" is a combination of the words 'Dovah', meaning "dragon", and 'kiin', meaning "born", or "child" which is typically translated to 'Dragonborn', but it can also be translated to 'Dragonchild'. Dovahkiin also has a second meaning: "Dragonkind Hunter Born," or "Born Hunter of Dragonkind", - a description of what the Dragonborn is destined to do). Here is also an awesome live action trailer of Skyrim for those of you who are new to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1AenlOEXao

I loved Skyrim and it became a place where I would return again and again. One day, last December, I realized that this game has become a part of my life, and I wanted to express my appreciation for its beauty and missions, to acknowledge and preserve the beauty and complexity of the world of Skyrim and the name of Dragonborn. I wanted to respond, from a perspective of academic music, with a piece that could represent Skyrim in a concert hall - a fantasy symphony. In January this year I started writing!

The process

My process of writing this symphony was influenced by my performing experiences—work in the orchestras where I get to play the symphonies of great composers. Until now, I have professionally experienced symphony from the point of performance, and it was this internal exploration that taught me how material can be developed to convey the intended artistic effects. I also wanted to explore the management of time within a large symphonic work—I wanted to unfold the musical material with timing that would be familiar to the flow of the game itself. The construction of the symphony is based on Allegro-Adagio-Scherzo-Finale movement layout, and each of the four movements features different atmosphere and characters that are united through instrumental and vocal motives, rhythm, and musical references.

I wanted to employ a musical form that could internalize the image of Dragonborn and the meaning of his presence in Skyrim. In my mind, the stylistics of Skyrim and the powers and choices of Dragonborn project an image of great and legendary organization, and I connected this image with the musical architecture of a symphony. I was inspired specifically by the traditionally established symphony form, and I felt that an older model of musical organization would convey and support the atmosphere of Skyrim. A prominent part of the symphony, the sonata form is a large musical structure that became universal in the late 18th century. This form is centered around a tonal and thematic conflict between two subjects that are presented in the exposition part of the sonata form, elaborated and contrasted in the development, and resolved harmonically and thematically in the recapitulation. I felt that the sonata form would create a great structure for presentation of Dragonborn in the first movement, and that it would lay the proper stylistic foundation for the entire work. Above I have included an audio sketch - it shows some of the second subject group material in the first movement.

As part of the composing process, I spend a lot of time with pencil and paper - I write out the melodic outline while visualizing the harmonies and musical texture.
As part of the composing process, I spend a lot of time with pencil and paper - I write out the melodic outline while visualizing the harmonies and musical texture.

The project

This project to release the symphony will run until November 1st, and I wanted to invite you to join and help spread the word about it! I am so grateful to Youtube game and mods reviewer Shinji72 for producing a gaming trailer for the symphony in support of this project.

It means the world to me knowing that the artistic legacy of Skyrim lives on and grows in the contributor communities. I spent my days composing, and I didn't even know what mods are! This project helped me make new friends and learn so much more about gaming already, and I am so excited to have been offered to create music for a Skyrim mod featuring some of the symphony themes as well. I am looking forward to learning more about this and working on it after the symphony is released, and I am so grateful for all the advice and support, and for inspiring ideas and news from artists and developers who dedicate their work to making fantasy a growing experience on a multitude of platforms.

Dovahzul, the Dragon Language is a constructed language featured in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is spoken by Dragons and was spoken by ancient Nords who learned to harness its power and use it against their Dragon masters.
Dovahzul, the Dragon Language is a constructed language featured in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is spoken by Dragons and was spoken by ancient Nords who learned to harness its power and use it against their Dragon masters.

Thank you for being there and joining this new release! Thank you for sharing this music with your friends and helping to make my first symphony possible. I can't wait to share this music with you.


Risks and challenges

The timeline and planning for this project are based on my prior experience with publishing and CD release. Should we would encounter minor delays during manufacturing and shipping, I will keep everyone posted throughout the process!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    MP3 download of the first movement of the symphony.

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    Advance MP3 download of the full symphony.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CD will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    MP3 downloads of the full symphony, "Legends: Fantasy Violin" album, and "Excalibur" single.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CD will be mailed to you in advance of the official release + MP3 download of the full symphony

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CD and main theme scroll will be mailed to you in advance of the official release + MP3 download of the full symphony

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CD, "Legends: Fantasy Violin" CD, and main theme scroll will be mailed to you in advance of the official release + MP3 download of the full symphony, "Excalibur" single, and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" album.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    2 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs and main theme scroll will be mailed to you in advance of the official release + MP3 download of the full symphony

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Your name listed on Dragonborn symphony website (anonymous option available) + MP3 downloads of the symphony and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" albums + 2 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs + main theme scroll will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Signed poster + your name listed on on Dragonborn symphony website (anonymous option available) + MP3 download of the symphony and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" albums + 2 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs + main theme scroll will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Dragon pendant + your name listed on Dragonborn symphony website (anonymous option available) + MP3 download of the symphony and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" albums + 3 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs + main theme scroll will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    YOUR NAME listed in album credits and Dragonborn symphony website (anonymous option available) + dragon pendant + signed poster + MP3 download of the symphony and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" albums + 3 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs, main theme scroll, and signed postcard will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Framed personal commemorative Dragonborn symphony plaque + your name listed in album credits and Dragonborn symphony website (anonymous option available) + dragon pendant + signed poster + MP3 download of the symphony and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" albums + 5 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs, main theme scroll, and signed postcard will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Full-size VIOLIN decorated with your name in Dovahzul language + your name listed in album credits and Dragonborn symphony website (anonymous option available) + dragon pendant + MP3 download of the symphony and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" albums + 5 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs, main theme scroll, and signed postcard will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    One of the themes in the symphony will be DEDICATED TO YOU or your loved one, and delivered to you as a separate track + framed personal commemorative Dragonborn symphony plaque + your name listed in album credits and Dragonborn symphony website (anonymous option available) + dragon pendant + MP3 download of the symphony and "Legends: Fantasy Violin" albums + 5 autographed "Dragonborn: Fantasy Symphony" CDs, main theme scroll, and signed postcard will be mailed to you in advance of the official release.

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Funding period

- (30 days)