MotoGP™ vs Beethoven: meet composer Marco Beltrami

The new MotoGP™ theme and opening titles will drop next week, so before that, get to know the man behind the music

It’s a new era for MotoGP™, and that includes the music. From 2023, the sport will have its own theme and new opening titles. The composer charged with the task of scoring the intro to the world’s fastest motorcycle racing Championship is Marco Beltrami, an Oscar nominated and Emmy-winning composer with an incredible resume of some of the most recognizable scores and moments in modern film.

Over the course of his three decade career, Beltrami has worked on some of the most successful films and franchises in cinema, as well as working in TV, videogames and even writing some concert music too. With film credits including Scream, Resident Evil, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Live Free or Die Hard, World War Z, I, Robot, 3:10 to Yuma and more – and with more and more blockbusters added every year – Beltrami is an A-list composer if ever there was one. He’s also a huge fan of MotoGP™! caught up with the Malibu-based maestro to get behind the scenes of the composition, process and, of course, his love of the sport. So here we go! Get acquainted with the composer of the new MotoGP™ theme.

Marco Beltrami

Let’s start with an introduction. For fellow MotoGP™ fans around the world, how would you introduce yourself?

“I’m Marco Beltrami, I’m a composer, and lately I’ve been doing mainly film composition, film and TV. I’ve also done some concert music stuff that I’ll be doing more of this coming year. But I think most people would know of me through the film composition that I do.”

So how did you become a composer?

“When I was a kid, music was something, really the only thing I’ve been good at! I’ve tried other jobs and failed miserably, but music seemed to naturally fit for me. My parents didn’t want me to study music in college, I studied geology, and I couldn’t tell one rock from another. I knew music was something I had to pursue and so I got a graduate degree in music composition from Yale School of Music and then came out to California shortly thereafter to pursue film music. You have your inner voice telling you what you need to do and sooner or later, you should follow it. So that’s what I did, and fortunately everything worked out.”

It did, and now you’re composing for your favourite sport. So how did the project come about?

“I pursued this project because I‘ve been a fan of MotoGP™ for a long time. I remember the classic races of Rossi vs Nicky Hayden, and I thought that these guys were just heroes to me. So cool. And I thought they needed something thematic that encapsulated this, and in the past year I asked my agent… I said, can you put me in contact with them because I have some ideas I think would be a lot of fun to work on. And it was fortuitous – it was the time!

“I’m a huge fan, I thought if I could be part of this I’d be overjoyed. So this was really a passion project for me.”

What was the starting point and inspiration for the theme?

“I had vague concepts in my mind when they said that a theme could be a cool idea. These guys are my heroes, and I also have musical heroes. One of my musical heroes is Beethoven. So when I was thinking about this, I immediately thought it has to be something simple, rhythmic, heroic. The first place I looked was Beethoven, his ninth symphony, in the second movement you have a really simple rhythmic motif and I thought maybe that’s the starting place for my theme. That’s basically what I did.

“For me, the first thing this had to do was encapsulate the heroic nature of what these guys do. It’s just incredible, the way they’re so calm under pressure… everything. That was the first thing. The second thing it had to do, these guys to me are the coolest, and it had to encapsulate that, so melodically that was something I wanted to incorporate. Putting these ideas together is really where I started from a musical standpoint.”

How is it a different challenge compared to a film score?

“It's a competely different challenge, because it’s so compressed. Normally if you have a theme, it develops, maybe even over a couple of minutes. But with this, within the first ten seconds you have to come to the high point, the chorus, the crux of the piece. For me, condensing it was one of the biggest challenges because the first thing I sent was much longer!

“When the TV comes on, immediately you’ve got to recognize it if you’re viewing this – this is the MotoGP theme.”

Marco Beltrami_Riders_Instruments

Tell us a bit more about your love of the sport, the passion is pretty clear!

“Well, a highlight for me was going to races, and I’ve seen two live. One at Silverstone I think in 2017, and then I saw Dovi vs Marquez at the Red Bull Ring. That was an amazing moment for me. I’m an amateur rider, I enjoy it, and once you do it you realise how incredible it is. I spend most my time doing supermoto riding on go kart tracks, and just learning to slide the bike you realise how amazing it is. It’s awesome, it really is. Every one of them is my hero! Every rider in MotoGP is amazing, and it’s hard because I root for them all. I want Marquez to get that ninth championship, I want Quartararo to win it again – he was so close last season and I really felt for him. But I love Bagnaia and I want him to win too! Then the new guys, Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin. The way Martin rides, of all the riders, the way he rides… if I could ride like anybody it’d be like him. I just love it and I can’t wait for the season to start.

“My son and I go to our local track together, and I have a Ducati V4R and he has a Yamaha R1. And on the go kart track I ride a Husqvarna. We have our own team! We have a few riders we race with and it’s a lot of fun. Quartararo was out at our track here earlier this year and that one day I didn’t go… I was so annoyed because that would have been great to see!

“This year though, I’m definitely going to come to Austin, maybe others. It depends on my schedule because I have two movies this summer so it really depends on how those schedule work out but I definitely want to come to whatever I can!”

So how is it going to feel when you hear your music as your favourite sport starts?

“I don’t know! It’s going to be a new experience for me. I’m very excited. It’s funny, I’ve done a hundred movies now and I remember the first I did, Scream… when I was recording that movie it was such a highlight for me, being there with the orchestra and recording it, doing it for the first time, and I sort of have that same feeling again after all these years. I guess that was close to 30 years ago and I had that same feeling – almost like a kid in a candy store! I’m enjoying so much of it, enjoying the recording, writing it, the whole thing has just been fun from beginning to end.”

Thanks so much, Marco. And welcome, you’re now part of the sport!

“Thank you! Thank you very much.”

Tune in next week for the premiere of the new theme!

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