Hans Zimmer
* September 12, 1957
Germany, England, United States
Solo Artist
Hans Zimmer is indisputably one of the most distinguished and influential film composers of our time. With more than one Oscar-nominated film score, he has consistently captured the world's imaginations and hearts with his perfect melodies and evocative themes.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1957, Hans Florian Zimmer has always been impassioned about music. He started to play the piano at age three, and at age six, he already knew he wanted to be a composer. As a child, he lived all over Europe, finally moving to England at age 14. He describes, "I got thrown out of an awful lot of schools. I was an academic failure basically. I just hated doing anything other than music. That doesn't quite fit in the school system. You know, they do want you to learn something else and be good at other things, and they don't want you to sit at your desk and daydream music all day long." As soon as he was out of school, he started his career in music, writing jingles and rock and roll songs. He began a long-term association with Trevor Horn, which whom he formed a band called The Buggles, which released the hit single, "Video Killed the Radio Star" and hit album "The Age of Plastic." However, his heart had always been in film composition, and he soon went to work for Stanley Myers (The Deer Hunter), with whom he collaborated on a number of scores in the early 1980's, including Moonlighting, The Lightship, The Castaway, and My Beautiful Laundrette. By 1988, he was a prolific composer in his own right, having solo credits on scores such as Vardo and A World Apart, as well as co-producer credits on the soundtrack to The Last Emperor. It was this same year that Barry Levinson's wife played the soundtrack to A World Apart for her husband, and Levinson was impressed enough to hire Hans for the Oscar-winning Rain Man.

Hans received an Oscar nomination for Rain Man, and from then on, the film music industry could not get enough of his magic. His huge filmography encompasses virtually every genre, including comedy (Renaissance Man, Cool Runnings), romantic comedy (Green Card, As Good As It Gets), drama (Driving Miss Daisy, Beyond Rangoon), action (Broken Arrow, The Peacemaker), suspense (Pacific Heights, The Fan), animation (The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt), documentary (Millenium, The Last Days), and muppets (Muppet Treasure Island). His record of excellence grew steadily with each passing year. For his celebrated work on The Lion King, he won the 1995 Oscar, Golden Globe, Chicago Film Critics Award, 2 Grammys, American Music Award for Best Album of the Year, and a Tony nomination for Best Original Score for The Lion King on Broadway. The following year, BMI awarded him its prestigious lifetime achievement award. Hans has received an Oscar nomination from his peers every year in the last 3 years, bringing the total number of Oscar nominations to six in the last 10 years.<

More than simply writing exceptional scores (as if that were simple), Hans brought a fresh, cutting-edge vision to the film music industry. Always at the forefront in the use of electronics and technology in music, he has been able to successfully and creatively integrate sounds and textures that were not conventional to film music. Together with long-time partner, Jay Rifkin, he created Media Ventures, a "one-stop shopping," hi-tech studio conglomerate which brainstorms, produces, and records just about anything related to media music. The think-tank, with 11 vastly talented resident composers, has introduced new styles and concepts that have expanded film scoring horizons for a new generation of film composers.

Blending stunning melodies with an uncanny grasp of the emotional core of each film, Hans is at heart a visionary filmmaker whose medium is music, voice, images, and passion. Although he may be most identified with high-profile action scores, his music is far from monotypical. He has an intuitive range in finding the individual voice of each movie. He captures the heart of each story and delivers it with concentrated power. Whether it be an adrenaline rush with a brooding accent in Crimson Tide, a bittersweet wistful comedy in As Good As It Gets, an introspective tragic loss in Radio Flyer, a provocative people's struggle in Power of One, or pure romantic poetry in Green Card, his music is unapologetically compelling, an inevitable force of nature, as it were. He knows how to make the audience feel the story like no other composer, with a fervent authenticity that makes people cry, literally. The enormous evocative appeal of his music makes instant connections with listeners, and makes him one of the most extraordinary and sought after film composers of our day. "Being lukewarm in the middle is boring," Hans says. Lukewarm is something he will never be guilty of.

Before Hans Zimmer became active in filmmusic, he was a member of the 1980’s band The Buggles, that scored a hit with their ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’, in 1979. If you would dig up an old TV-performance, you can recognize Hans Zimmer behind the synthesizer.

Media Ventures is the L.A. based music-studio of Hans Zimmer and his partner, Jay Rifkin. Zimmer himself described MV as ‘School of Sounds’. Zimmer founded the firm to give young, talented composers a career-start in Hollywood.

Hans’ second name is Florian and on some soundtracks he is even listed as Hans F. Zimmer, like i.a. on the CDs for ‘The Last Emperor’ and on ‘Broken Arrow’ under the heading synthesizer.

For the film ‘Scream’, Zimmer’s music from ‘Broken Arrow’ was used. And further, the tracks ‘Brothers’ and ‘Secure’ are credited at the end of the film, under Songs.

Unfortunately, there is but rarely information on filmmusic or more specifically on Hans Zimmer in medialand. On a seperate site, we will gather information on press-reports in the writing media, on TV or radio. If you should find anything appropriate, simply send us an e-mail.

Unfortunately, to this day, there is no official ‘Days Of Thunder’ score out on CD. Two tracks are unofficially released on the ‘Follow Your Dreams’ promo. The only thing official is (was) a maxi-CD, which, beside the songs ‘Show Me Heaven’ and ‘Hearts In Trouble’ also contains the good 2.5 minute lasting score-track ‘Car Building’. This track however, corresponds to 95% of the clip from the ‘Follow Your Dreams’ promo. Only, the beginning on the maxi-CD is a few seconds longer and for this, the promo-version was coupled with a short passage from the ‘Days Of Thunder’ laserdisc.

For the Tony Scott film ‘Enemy Of The State’ Hans Zimmer was actually to be the main composer. However, at the time of the project, Zimmer was so much occupied with the ‘The Thin Red Line’ score that he passed the job on to ‘his people’ Harry Gregson-Williams (and Trevor Rabin). That is why in some teasers and TV-spots Hans Zimmer was partly listed as main composer.

Rare silver discs: It is not just the soundtrack-CD from the film ‘Paperhouse’ that is now only rarely found. There are a whole lot of real collector’s items, for which the Zimmer-fans often go hunting. Therefore, we have opened an appropriate feature for you, where you can find out about real Zimmer-trophies.

The music of Zimmer’s early work on ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ that he co-wrote with Stanley Meyers, is partly available on a Meyers CD-sampler. On this CD there are three tracks that also contain music by Hans Zimmer. The disc was brought out on the Milan label, meanwhile however, out-of-print and likewise already a curio.

For Shirley Walker, Hans Zimmer took part as a synthesist, i.a. in the film ‘Batman And The Phantom’ as well as ‘Hunt For An Invisible’. Both scores were brought out on CD, partly out-of-print.

Jeff Rona has been responsible for the CD-arrangement of countless Hans Zimmer scores. Both befriended composers worked together on a great number of different productions. Further information on Jeff can be found in our detailed Jeff Rona section. As a special treat, there is also a short interview.

For the film ‘Liar/Deceiver’ Hans Zimmer appeared as sound advisor. The music was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, the score is at the moment only available as Japan-version.

Small CD-mistake: on the ‘The Fan’ CD, the cover mentions 11 tracks, while the CD in fact contains 12 tracks. The long Zimmer score-track ‘Sacrifice’ is track number 12.

Small CD-mistake II: part of the CD-edition of ‘The Whole Wide World’ contains only 9 instead of 12 tracks. In addition to this, the name Hans is misspelled on the shorter faulty disc. They wrote his name down as Hanz.

On his label Mojo Records, Jay Rifkin produces the punkband ‘Goldfinger’. On the CD by that same name, Hans Zimmer’s orchestrator Bruce Fowler can be heard on the song ‘Answers’ with a solo on trumpet. Moreover, the CD was recorded at Media Ventures and both "Antz" co-composer Geoff Zanelli and Slamm Andrews were given technical credits for their share in making the CD.

Zimmer-songs: To countless soundtracks Hans Zimmer has contributed pop- and rock-songs. For ‘Days Of Thunder’ he wrote the music for ‘The Last Note Of Freedom’, the words were written by Billy Idol and it was finally sung by David Coverdale. For ‘Calendar Girl’ it was the Aaron Neville song ‘Letting Go’, which was performed by Trent D’Arby. In addition to that, he produced and arranged many pieces for ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Prince Of Egypt’. More can be found at the Hans Zimmer song domain.

Distinctions: Zimmer was awarded a Grammy for his ‘Crimson Tide’ score, ‘The Lion King’ was honoured with an Oscar and a Golden Globe as best score. The Oscar-nominations were further divided among his work for ‘Rain Man’, ‘The Preacher’s Wife’, ‘As Good As It Gets’, ‘Prince Of Egypt’ , ‘The Thin Red Line’ – and most recently ‘Gladiator’. For the 'Gladiator' film score Zimmer collaborated with Lisa Gerrard, formerly from Dead Can Dance.

Little extra I: If you should listen about 1.5 minutes longer to the last track on the ‘The Whole Wide World’ CD, the end credit, you can quite suddenly hear a short intensive warming up of the vocal version of the theme.

Little extra II: Everyone owning a ‘The Fan’ CD, should check out the back (!!!) of the CD-backcover. In some cases, a nice surprise can be found there.
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