Hans Zimmer

Biography

Born: September 12, 1957; Frankfurt, Germany  
Hans Zimmer is a composer and keyboard synthesizer player who made popular music history then became one of the most successful film score composers.

Raised and educated mainly in England, he has no formal musical education; he says the most he ever got was about "two weeks of piano lessons." Nevertheless, he took an early interest in electronic musical synthesizers in the 1970s, when these were large, bulky analog devices
Read more programmed usually by means of patch cords and individual oscillator settings.

He found work writing tunes and electronically scoring music for television commercials and, still in his early twenties, joined two British musicians named Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes to form a rock group called The Buggles. They produced a world-wide hit called "Video Killed the Radio Star," which made music history as the first piece ever broadcast on America's music network MTV. The Buggles' subsequent LP, "The Age of Plastic," was also a major hit.

Zimmer became interested in film music, mostly through the influence of Italian composer Ennio Morricone, and also cites Elmer Bernstein's The Magnificent Seven as an influence both on himself and Morricone, as well as John Barry's James Bond scores, Bernard Herrmann's Psycho, and Jerry Goldsmith's The Omen as major influences on later film scores. But it was a meeting with another film composer, Stanley Meyers, that led Zimmer into scoring for films and into a style using classical and electronic techniques.

Zimmer and Meyers founded Lillie Yard Studios in London. Zimmer and Meyers worked on small British films, including Jerzy Skolimovsky's Moonlighting, Success is The Best Revenge, and The Lightship, and Nicholas Roeg's Insignificance and The Castaway. The big hit of this "little movie" period was My Beautiful Laundrette. This introduced Zimmer to the Hollywood community and he was brought in to help Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Byrne (neither with much film experience or Western classical training) to score Bertolucci's epic The Last Emperor.

After writing scores for a few more movies, including Wonderland, Paperhouse, and Burning Secret, he was commissioned to compose for the low-budget film on South African racial problems A World Apart in 1986. This work led Barry Levinson to hire Zimmer to write the score for the Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman drama Rain Man, a score nominated for an Oscar. The financial and critical success of this film led to such prestige films as Driving Miss Daisy, then made a sharp turn into action movie scoring, beginning with Black Rain and continuing with Days of Thunder, Backdraft, Thelma and Louise, Peacemaker, and Crimson Tide (which won a Grammy Award). He says he developed a new action music style in Black Rain because he was trying to sound like John Williams and didn't know how to.

Zimmer's best known work is the score to The Lion King, Disney's most popular animated film, which won the Academy Award and, at twelve million copies sold, became the best-selling record in the history of Walt Disney Records.

Zimmer has not escaped typecasting; action films became his forte, along with projects with some element of cross-cultural clashes in the plot. He is exceptionally frank about his own work and in interviews has readily identified work he considers good and bad. For instance, when asked why there is no recording of even a selection of the best parts of his score for Days of Thunder he said, "Because there wasn't any good music in it." On the other hand, he cites his films Drop Zone, Two Deaths, Peacemaker, Driving Miss Daisy, Prince of Egypt, and part of Crimson Tide as favorites. Read less
Browse 26-47 of 47 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Zimmer: Angels & Demons / Original Soundtrack
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752096 Release Date: 05/12/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
    Performer:  Joshua Bell
    Conductor:  Nick Glennie-Smith
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio Chorus,  Electronics,  Studio Orchestra
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  • 27.
    The Dark Knight - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Warner Brothers   Catalog: 511101 Release Date: 07/15/2008  
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 28.
    Masters And Commanders - Music From Seafaring Film Classics
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80682 Release Date: 07/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  John Debney,  Morton Gould,  Franz Waxman  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Lees
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
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  • 29.
    Label: Walt Disney Records   Catalog: 000037102 Release Date: 05/22/2007  
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 30.
    Best Film Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70900 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  André Saint-Clivier,  Wayne Marshall,  Maria Tipo,  Andrei Gavrilov  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Sir David Willcocks,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
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  • 31.
    Label: Walt Disney Records   Catalog: 861447 Release Date: 07/04/2006  
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 32.
    Da Vinci Code - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000647902 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Harvey,  Hans Zimmer
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  • 33.
    The Big Picture
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80437 Release Date: 11/23/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliot Goldenthal,  James Horner,  Mark Mancina,  David Arnold  ... 
    Performer:  Bill Duncan,  Eric Rigler,  Timothy Berens,  Erich Kunzel
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Company Singers
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  • 34.
    The Classical Album 2005
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000529102 Release Date: 09/13/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Agustín Lara,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Bocelli,  Lorin Maazel,  Bryn Terfel,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Oliviero de Fabritiis,  Nicholas Cleobury,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 35.
    The Last Samurai [hyper Cd]
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 62932 Release Date: 11/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 36.
    Epics / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80600 Release Date: 09/23/2003  
    Composer:  Elmer Bernstein,  John T. Williams,  Maurice Jarre,  Howard Shore  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops
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  • 37.
    Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
    Label: Disney   Catalog: 860089 Release Date: 07/22/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Klaus Badelt,  Hans Zimmer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Black Hawk Down - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 017012 Release Date: 01/15/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 39.
    Classical Hits / Brightman, Church, Ma, Pavarotti, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 89702 Release Date: 09/11/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mark O'Connor,  Tan Dun,  Carl Orff,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Performer:  Mark O'Connor,  Edgar Meyer,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Joshua Bell  ... 
    Conductor:  Tan Dun,  John T. Williams,  David Zinman,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Shanghai Symphony Orchestra,  Shanghai Percussion Ensemble,  Tanglewood Festival Chorus  ... 
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  • 40.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467749 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 41.
    Pearl Harbor - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Warner Brothers   Catalog: 48113 Release Date: 05/22/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 42.
    Gladiator: More Music From [ecd]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 013192 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 43.
    Hannibal - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 469696 Release Date: 02/06/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Patrick Cassidy,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Hans Zimmer
    Performer:  Sir Anthony Hopkins
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  • 44.
    Gladiator (2000)
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467094 Release Date: 04/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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  • 45.
    A Gala Christmas In Vienna / Domingo, Brightman, Lotti
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 60396 Release Date: 09/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Lennon,  Ian Anderson,  Domingo, Placido, Jr.,  Franz Xaver Gruber  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Brightman,  Riccardo Cocciante,  Placido Domingo,  Helmut Lotti
    Conductor:  Steven Mercurio,  Paul Bateman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Gumpoldskirch Boys Choir,  English National Opera Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Play Ball! / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80468 Release Date: 03/24/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Adler,  James Horner,  Steven Reineke,  Bill Conti  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Muldaur,  Tom Wopat,  Jerry Kimbrough,  Tim Berens  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  Ohio State University Choir,  School for Creative and Performing Arts Chorale  ... 
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  • 47.
    Beyond Rangoon - Original Soundtrack
    Label: Milan   Catalog: 35725 Release Date: 08/15/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hans Zimmer
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