Tullman, Flashpoint Play Host to Final Fantasy’s Nobuo Uematsu

Marcus Riley

On Friday, Howard Tullman and his recently accredited Tribeca Flashpoint Academy welcomed prolific Japanese games composer Nobuo Uematsu for an intimate Q&A session with students.

Even if you haven't heard of him, it's further proof of Tullman's savvy in assuring his school offers classes, experience, and guest speakers relevant to students' interests. Uematsu, synonymous with the beloved Final Fantasy series that started in 1987, nearly filled a large classroom with students eager to ask him about his instrumentation choices and his thoughts on genre labels.

"He is the world's most prominent composer of video game music -- especially Final Fantasy," Tullman said. "So he was an amazing crossover guest for our game and our recording arts students."

Even though students didn't ask Uematsu or fellow composer/collaborator Arnie Roth for career advice or even stories on how they got their proverbial first big breaks, it's further reinforcement of the keen common-sense instincts Tullman has demonstrated time and time again. If you're going to run a digital-arts and entertainment private college, you should be plugged in to what's relevant.

In the few instances where Uematsu delved into tangents unrelated to questions about his thoughts on the Mario Bros. series, he reflected on life as a freelancer and an entrepreneur. He left game-publishing company Square in 2004 to form production company Smile Please and also Dog Ear Records. His translator explained that his favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is "that he doesn't have to wake up in the morning or have a boss."

Uematsu was stateside for a pair of sold-out orchestral concerts that substantially fleshes out his scores for games both older and more recent. Although Uematsu spoke at Flashpoint previously in 2008 in a similar setting, it bears repeating: He spoke to a packed house last week.

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