Assassin’s Creed – Symphonic Adventure – Barcelona 2023 [Concert Summary]

On Saturday, May 13, the first concert of the ‘Assassin’s Creed – Symphonic Adventure’ 2023 tour was held at the Auditori Forum CCIB in Barcelona, Spain, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the saga. The concert, produced by Overlook Events and Ubisoft, was performed by the Universal Symphony Orchestra & Choir under the baton of conductor Adrián Ronda.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


Our colleague & collaborator Coque Cano attended this great concert and following you can read a review, and enjoy some pictures.


Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure

It seems that concerts dedicated to music for the audiovisual media are already an indispensable part of the agendas of many orchestras or auditoriums in the country. In SoundTrackFest we have been able to talk about programs of all kinds, even orchestras created specifically to perform soundtracks, and events with such varied formats that do nothing but enrich the music scene of our cities.


The concert of this article has covered a less usual space, as is the music created for video games, an Industry no longer so minor (in many aspects has advanced and passed the importance of the seventh art), with a fandom that does nothing but grow over the years and that in terms of music, has become a haven for great composers where the corsets of film music tend to disappear, being also of vital importance to the immersive and first-person experience that video games provide.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


Since in the now distant 1990 a great maestro like Bruce Broughton composed “Heart of darkness”, considered the first symphonic score for a video game, we have witnessed an inexhaustible golden age as far as gamer music is concerned, with sagas where the scores are not only crucial to the gameplay, but have an indisputable musical quality. “Medal of Honor”, “Final Fantasy”, “Castlevania”, “Zelda” or the multiple games based on “Star Wars”, to name a few examples, have soundtracks worthy of being performed in concert halls.


The music is also essential in “Assassin’s Creed”, a franchise to which this concert & article is dedicated. Certainly, the musical style of this saga is not as classical as that of the aforementioned, and for this reason a musical-visual event such as the one in question was a leap of faith that, like those performed by the main character Desmond Miles, can be said to have been successful.


Created by the French company Ubisoft, this series that seems to have no end is dedicated to the eternal struggle between the Assassins and the Templars, and the temporal element is a defining part (each version has its historical moment), which has allowed that since the first installment released in 2007 and until the twenty-second installment released in 2020 with the title Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, a very rich musical universe has been created, with the intervention of composers such as Jesper Kyd (first musician assigned to the saga and in some ways responsible for the subsequent stylistic line), Sarah Schachner, Brian Tyler, Lorne Balfe, Austin Wintory, Chris Titlon, Elitsa Alexandrova, Ryan Amon or the tandem formed by Joe Henson & Alexis Smith (whose stage name is “The Flight“), the latter personally present at the Auditori Forum CCIB in Barcelona.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


Needless to say that it was a concert aimed especially at fans of the game, because I insist that the music is not so enjoyable in its isolated listening (even if here it was accompanied by images), full as it is of percussive and ethnic elements, much closer to the current prevailing style (Zimmer style, so that we understand, something very obvious in the use of voices), than the postromantic and thematic style that is usually more common to hear in a symphonic concert to use.


But precisely for this reason, I consider that it was a unique and more than interesting concert, which also made an exhaustive review of the music of the different installments (there were three hours with an intermission), making it one of the most complete and dedicated events that have been made on a saga, including movies.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


The program was divided into four parts chronologically ordered (in the historical scope, not in the release of the installments), with a previous Introduction in which a fantastic theme specially composed and arranged by Jesper Kyd for this Assassin’s Creed Symphonic Adventure, called “From the depths of history”, was played.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


A great introduction for a concert in which we must highlight on the one hand the Universal Symphony Orchestra & Choir, a formation of the Marina Alta in Spain, created by Javier Gil Pérez, which is beginning to make a name for itself among the Spanish private orchestras and is proving to be an impeccable choice in the concert space of soundtracks, and Adrián Ronda Sampayo, conductor for the company “Overlook Events“, producers of this concert and other daring events such as the Dragon Ball Symphonic Adventure (read more), or the concert dedicated to Joe Hisaishi that will visit Barcelona in December this year (read more).


Both orchestra and conductor committed and embroidered a very long and demanding concert, achieving perfect synchrony with the images that were projected in 4k quality and that collected the best moments of each installment of the saga, achieving an overwhelming cinematic experience. Perhaps a little too much, that’s true, because if it had been reduced, the result would have been just as impressive but more agile and not so exhausting. Although I imagine that the fans will not think the same.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


Before going on to talk about the different parts of the concert, I think it deserves a brief comment on the visual and sound staging which, together with the music performed by the orchestra, made this show something different from what is usually offered to the public. The production company, in close collaboration with Ubisoft, has developed a very powerful experience where music, images, and certain sound effects and dialogues of the game are perfectly combined making you, even without being a player, imbibe the spirit of Assassin’s Creed, its visual and sound richness, its story full of time and void jumps, where violence and religion go hand in hand.


This immersive format also allows to honor the franchise by showing its evolution not only narratively but above all technically, from a first installment in which the years are obviously noticeable to the last one where the graphics look like real images. And yet, thanks to the structure of the concert, where the historical chronology prevails over that of the releases of the successive installments, these differences in visual quality cease to be important, and this is partly achieved thanks precisely to the music, which from the beginning has been characterized by high-quality standards and a certain stylistic unity, even though each composer has contributed with his/her part.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


And to finish with this introduction, it is undoubtedly a wonderful idea that the montage of images and sounds has been adapted to the pre-existing music (there was even a moment in which the sound of the steps of a character on screen coincided with the movements of the conductor’s baton), because on the one hand it makes it stand out and on the other hand it achieved the blending of all the elements that made up the show.


The concert program was as follows:



From the Depths of History

Newly Composed & Arranged by Jesper Kyd



· PART I ·




Composed by The Flight · Mike Georgiades



Composed by Sarah Schachner



Composed by Jesper Kyd · Sarah Schachner · Einar Selvik






Composed by Jesper Kyd



Composed by Jesper Kyd



Composed by Jesper Kyd



Composed by Jesper Kyd · Lorne Balfe







Composed by Brian Tyler



Composed by Lorne Balfe



Composed by Elitsa Alexandrova






Composed by Sarah Schachner · Chris Tilton · Ryan Amon



Composed by Austin Wintory



Concert Credits


Brendan Angelides

In the first part entitled “The Foundations”, 6 pieces from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey were played to start with, whose composers (“The Flight“) went on stage at the end of the concert and there they improvised a funny interview in which they talked about their work in the franchise. Also within this first part, 7 themes from Assassin’s Creed Origins were performed, composed by Sarah Schachner, and another 7 from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, in which Jesper Kyd, Sarah Schachner, and the Norwegian composer Einar Selvik worked together, achieving one of the most successful scores of the saga and more in tune with the time and location where the action takes place.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


The second part was entitled “Quest for the truth” and raised the number of games represented to four, being the first Assassin’s Creed by Jesper Kyd, the one that began almost a monographic block dedicated to the composer. Then came Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, both with his personal stamp, and ending with Assassin’s Creed Revelations, where Kyd collaborated with the lately very hard-working Lorne Balfe. From my point of view, this was the part that most identifies the musical soul of the saga, with a style always close to the spiritual, demonstrating the great and personal work of the Danish composer.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


After a necessary intermission, both for the musicians and the audience, we returned to the world of Desmond Miles and his historical avatars for a third part called “The New World”, which focused on the works of Brian Tyler for Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag (no less than 8 themes were performed, in what was one of the longest suites of the night and certainly the most epic one, very much in the style of the Californian composer who I would say is the one who has distanced most from the ethnic style and at the same time the religious tone of the rest of the saga), then Assassin’s Creed III composed by Lorne Balfe (9 were the themes of a much more topical and less interesting score but which fit perfectly with the images), and finally in the installment entitled Assassin’s Creed Rogue, composed by Elitsa Alexandrova, from which 6 themes were performed and which also does not represent a great musical advance for the franchise.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


And finally, the fourth part entitled “An era of change”, was the most agile and enjoyable of all, something that was appreciated given the density of the previous three parts. There were only two games that occupied this colophon, being the first Assassin’s Creed Unity, composed on six hands by Sarah Schachner, Chris Tilton (Michael Giacchino’s regular collaborator), and Ryan Amon, where 8 themes showed us a fresh and varied work, precisely because of having such different musical voices. The second installment of this fourth part of the concert was Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, composed by a great musician like Austin Wintory, and that in my opinion, is the best score of the franchise, where the orchestra (especially the string section) could shine the most.

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


It is clear with this last comment that it was a success to end the program with this work, and also for this reason I consider that on the contrary it was a mistake to give encores to an audience that, despite the strenuousness of the program, had ended with a great taste in their mouths. There was really no need for encores, especially when it was not a concert in the usual way, and this broke in a way such a methodical, complex and well-closed experience (although it is true that having a premiere of the next game of the saga, Assassin’s Creed Mirage with music by Brendan Angelides, preceded by a last block dedicated to the credits of the concert, helped to fulfill the promised immersive experience).

Assassin’s Creed - Symphonic Adventure - Barcelona 2023


Obviously, there are slight details to be taken into account (such as the excessive duration and poor advertising of the event) but they certainly do not tarnish an outstanding show, which fans of the veteran franchise surely enjoyed a lot, and which offered to those not initiated in the game the opportunity to know in depth why Assassin’s Creed is one of the greatest successes that has given the video game industry, that has permeated so much in recent popular culture.


A convincing and wonderfully prepared and executed leap of faith into the void.


Article by Coque Cano

Pictures by Gorka Oteiza


📸 Assassin’s Creed – Symphonic Adventure 2023 – Barcelona (c) Gorka Oteiza / SoundTrackFest