The Legend of Flute Link

Presenting . . . Laura Intravia ’09

By Scott Livingston Beemer

Among her fans, Laura Intravia is better known as “Flute Link.” She acquired the nickname in the summer of 2008, before her senior year at IC, while attending Otakon, a large anime, video game, and Japanese pop culture convention. She entered the convention’s talent show dressed as the character Link from the Legend of Zelda video games. Drawing upon her musical training, love of video games, and a certain dramatic flair, Laura created and performed a light-hearted skit, featuring a flute competition between Link and his oft-ridiculed fairy companion. The music was her own arrangement of various themes from the Zelda franchise. “I was terrified, hoping everyone would get the joke,” Laura recalls.

She needn’t have worried. The skit received a standing ovation and earned Laura an award at the convention. “It was a magical day,” she says, and an omen of even better things to come.

Laura returned to Ithaca, where she was studying music composition and vocal performance, to complete her degree. Life, she says, returned to normal. Months later, with graduation just around the corner, she was contacted by Tommy Tallarico, a successful musician and composer of video game music. Tallarico’s latest project was called Video Games Live, a concert series featuring music from video games. He had seen her skit on YouTube and wanted Laura to join the show at their next performance in San Diego.

Thrilled, Laura agreed. The audience loved her skit, and she was later invited on a four-show tour of Brazil as a special guest performer. During that tour she was given the chance to sing, and ever since, she has been the featured flute and vocal soloist for Video Games Live. The concert series brings the worlds of video game fandom and classical music together, raising the profile of video game music and bringing thousands of young people to orchestral performances.

Laura describes Video Games Live as “a conglomeration of orchestral segments, choral segments, and solo performances. It’s got rock music, orchestral music, and crossover — a lot of different styles rolled into one show.” Laura, Tallarico, and a few other regulars typically contract with local orchestras and musicians. “The orchestra is usually pretty excited about it, because everybody in the audience is treating it like a rock concert,” she says.

At the end of each show, Laura enjoys meeting members of the audience to chat about the performance or about their shared love of video games, or to take requests for future shows.

“We’re very in touch with the fans that way, which is really cool,” she says. “We’re not superstars. We’re not crazy rock stars. We’re fans of video game music, just like they are, and it’s fun to share that.”

While her affiliation with Video Games Live has received the most attention, Laura considers it to be only one facet of her career, alongside classical concert compositions, arrangements for musical theater groups, singing for a church, and providing flute and voice lessons. She also maintains a website where she recently announced her video game soundtrack debut: she performed a flute solo for the XBOX 360 game Otomedius Excellent, which will be released in the United States later this year.

Laura, who speaks with equal enthusiasm for her favorite games (the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, various Mario games, and the classical music-themed game Eternal Sonata, among others) and her favorite classical composers (including Samuel Barber, Libby Larsen, Frederic Chopin, and Claude Debussy), enjoys the variety

“I’m still a well-rounded musician like I was in Ithaca,” she admits. “I think I would be bored doing just one thing.”

Watch a video of Laura Intravia performing as Flute Link here.