Ramin Djawadi is in a rare spot for a TV and film composer: He’s currently on a tour of arenas across the country where an orchestra plays his music and he conducts. Not concert halls or theaters — arenas where acts such as Adele, Rush and Garth Brooks play. This Sunday, he and his orchestra hit the American Airlines Center, performing the songs of Game of Thrones.
Djawadi has scored films like Iron Man, Pacific Rim, Clash of the Titans and Warcraft, but he’s best known for the work he’s done for Game of Thrones, as well as the music for another HBO blockbuster, Westworld.
This is the second time in North America that Djawadi has presented a concert tour for Game of Thrones. The only other orchestra that plays arenas of this scale is the Trans Siberian Orchestra. He’s aware of the difficulty in performing an arena like the AAC as compared with, say, Bass Hall.
“It is very different and we work very hard on making it sound absolutely incredible,” Djawadi says. “The hall is much bigger. Normally, in an acoustic setting, the hall is designed to where you can hear everywhere. But in an arena, that’s not possible. You really have to project the sound, and therefore you need to work with amplification. The sound team that we have on board is absolutely spectacular. They specialize in those kinds of things.”
Pulling off a tour like this requires a lot of work, and that includes finding time in his schedule. Djawadi has even turned down projects in order to tour.
“It’s tough,” he says. “With my work schedule, I have to create some open space.”
Born in Germany to German and Iranian parents, Djawadi graduated from Berklee College of Music. His range of composing music is quite broad. From the piano-based music Westworld to the piano-less music of Game of Thrones, he’s a composer who embraces classical music but practically every kind of music, from rhythm to atmosphere.
In addition to this extensive tour of America, he’s excited about composing music for the final season of Game of Thrones, which debuts in 2019.
“I have no idea what’s coming my way,” he says. “I’m just as curious as everybody else [on] how this season is going to go down and how this show [is] going to end. I can’t wait to find out. I’m really curious myself.”
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It’s normal in the TV world for a composer to work on an episode’s score until hours before the episode airs. “When the show starts airing, I’m always still working,” Djawadi says. “I’m only a couple of episodes ahead of what’s on the air.”
Looking ahead and beyond the final Game of Thrones tour, one has to wonder if Djawadi will do a tour of music from Westworld.
“I have been really thinking about it already,” Djawadi says. “I have a lot of ideas. I would absolutely love to do that. With my schedule, who knows how and when that can be put together, but the answer is definitely yes.”
The Game of Thrones Concert Experience is Sunday, Sept. 16 at the American Airlines Center. Tickets start at $21.