Sound Byte: LOTR: War in the North Performed Live at E3

We talk to composer Inon Zur and find out more about the live concert at E3.

For those of you who are heading to the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced that it will be bringing the Middle-earth experience to the halls of E3 in the form of a 40-piece orchestra to celebrate its upcoming release of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North. Each day of the show at the Los Angeles Convention Center, composer Inon Zur will be there conducting the orchestra, which will play along to video footage from the game.

More details below:


Tuesday & Wednesday: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Thursday: 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA
South Hall Lobby Atrium


E3 attendees who participate in a show floor demo of the game will receive a wrist band granting them access to these performances.

To find out a bit more about the show and the music, we asked Inon a few questions about his latest project.

GameSpot: Hello again, Inon. It's nice to be able to talk to you about your latest project! Tell us about the announcement regarding The Lord of the Rings: War in the North at E3.

Inon Zur: I'm very excited to share with you the great news that for the first time in the history of E3, there will be a concert of music featuring one game only (unlike other concerts which are putting together many different titles) dedicated to The Lord of the Rings: War in the North. The one-hour concerts will take place early evening on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during E3 and will be performed by The Hollywood Orchestra and Choir, with the participation of The Lyris Quartet and solos from Aubrey Ashburn. Many aspects of the score from the game will be featured in these concerts, which will be accompanied by a big screen adapting scenes from the game in the background.

GS: You're no stranger to scoring epic fantasy games, but this is from a property that is well known and has a huge fan following. How did you approach this soundtrack?

IZ: I approached it in an even more cinematic way than before, though most of my scores have a cinematic capacity. This score has a heavy classical influence, featuring only orchestra and choir. There are no electronic sounds; it is 100 percent acoustic. It is a very dark score throughout, unlike the movie scores, which often include light and comic moments.

GS: What is the style and tone of the music in The Lord of the Rings: War in the North?

IZ: We stayed loyal to the sounds of The Lord of the Rings; however, we have taken it to a darker place.

GS: Were you aiming to create your own style in this universe? Or did you want to bring some of the movie feel to it as well by looking at Howard Shore's score?

IZ: We do not use any quotes or direct references from the film soundtracks. The score is entirely original, but the sound is reminiscent of the films, so players are not going to feel detached from the franchise.

GS: You've talked about being a fan of video games and are a gamer yourself. Were you familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien's works before beginning this project?

IZ: Of course. I am very much familiar with Tolkien's works. I remember when I first read all of his books when I was a teenager and how I was heavily influenced by his work, as it introduced me to a whole new world of adventure, fantasy, imagery, culture, and language. It was a great inspiration to tap into this immersive world. For me to be working on The Lord of the Rings, it is not so much that I've come full circle, but it is certainly a wish come true.

GS: What was the most memorable experience for you working on The Lord of the Rings: War in the North?

IZ: It was my first time visiting London and recording at Abbey Road Studios and conducting the wonderful players of the London Philharmonia. It was an exhilarating experience to record with such wonderful musicians at this world-famous recording studio which has such a great history. The production expertise of the team and the quality of this magnificent professional studio really took my music to great new heights. I feel very fortunate to be associated with such a well-loved and prestigious franchise and thank Warner Bros. for trusting me with this adventure.

GS: Looking forward to hearing the music! Thank you for your time.

Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music and audio in games, including interviews with top game music composers and sound designers, as well as discussions of new or classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below or e-mail us at For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here. Follow us on Twitter! @gs_soundbyte

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote


I'm not a hater of Inon Zur or anything, but I am a devoted music lover and I absolutely adored Howard Shore's incredible work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy... and much as I hate to say it I don't think Zur is anywhere near as talented as Shore. I loved the intelligent and beautiful themes and works for Lord of the Rings, and I fear that Zur will turn the incredible themes into cliched action material. The best fantasy work i've heard Zur do is for Dragon Age, and that wasn't nearly as powerful as LotR... Surprise me, Mr. Zur!


I really like Inon's work with Crysis and Fallout 3 but I was hoping that Howard Shore's music was going to be playing while I was exploring Middle Earth in this game.


I'm a big LOTR fan but this new trailer just put the icing on the cake for me. Day 1 buy. AWarner Bros. games is publishing quite a few good games this year (Mortal Kombat, Batman, F3AR, and this). Hopefully they keep up the good work.


wanna a good sound track??? EVENSTAR from Two towers.


I'll be at E3, I'll have to check this out. I'm really looking forward to an actual great Lord of the Rings game. Hopefully this game is great.


The guys behind Champions of Norrath working on a game set in my favorite fantasy universe, awesome