Hans Zimmer life and biography

Hans Zimmer picture, image, poster

Hans Zimmer biography

Date of birth : 1957-09-12
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Nationality : German
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2012-03-20
Credited as : film composer, music producer, Batman soundtrack

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Hans Florian Zimmer is a German film composer and music producer. He has composed music for over 100 films, including award winning film scores for The Lion King (1994), Crimson Tide (1995), Gladiator (2000), The Dark Knight (2008), and Inception (2010).

The film scores of composer Hans Zimmer are as varied as the films they provide music for. One score may cause the viewer to laugh harder, another may make the heart pound faster, and yet another might make a moviegoer cry harder. "I'm this loose cannon--all over the place," Zimmer told Edwin Black in Film Score Monthly online. "I can do action movies and romantic comedies.... The bottom line is I'm trying to serve the film just like the director is trying to serve the film." After nearly 20 years as a composer, Zimmer has provided musical scores for more than 80 films.

Hans Florian Zimmer was born on September 12, 1957, in Frankfurt, Germany. His interest in music began at a very early age. He began playing piano at the age of three, but his interest in lessons waned after just two weeks. When he was six years old, he decided that he wanted to become a composer. "My dad died when I was six," Zimmer told CNN Worldbeat. "That's when I decided I was going to become really serious about music, because it was my refuge. It was my way of calming the demons in me or at the same time sometimes letting them roar, letting them rip, letting the monster out and seeing that it wasn't so scary being able to look it in the eye."

When Zimmer was 14 years old, he moved to England. Throughout his childhood, he was expelled from several different schools because he preferred to study music instead of his schoolwork. When he finally finished school, he began his music career by writing jingles for commercials and playing in rock bands. In 1979, Zimmer, along with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, put together a band called the Buggles. The group recorded the album The Age of Plastic, which included the hit song "Video Killed the Radio Star." The video for the single became the first ever to be shown on MTV.

Despite the group's success, Zimmer did not enjoy the recording process with the Buggles, and he was not happy having to write only one style of music. "I used to be in a band, but that got to be boring," Zimmer later recalled to David Kohner Zuckerman in Brtnwd magazine. "Now I have bigger bands for shorter periods of time."

After leaving the Buggles, Zimmer went to work for composer Stanley Myers, who began to teach him more about scoring films. "Stanley took me in," Zimmer told Cinemusic online. "From the first day that I was his assistant, he just let me write things.... I thought it was great that there was that system in place whereby someone who really knew a lot would give you room and support, and bring you up and give you a chance." Zimmer and Myers set up the Lillie Yard Studio in London. They collaborated on several film scores, including Moonlighting, The Lightship, The Castaway, and My Beautiful Launderette.

In 1986, Zimmer worked by himself on the score for Vardo. The following year, he teamed with David Byrne and Ryuichi Sakamoto to produce the soundtrack for The Last Emperor. By the mid-1980s, his career as a film composer was well on its way, but it was in 1988 that it truly took off. Zimmer had composed the score for a small budget film called A World Apart, which was about South Africa. The wife of producer Barry Levinson played the soundtrack for her husband about the time that he was getting ready to hire someone to score Rain Man. Levinson was so impressed with Zimmer's work that he hired him to score his film as well. Zimmer won an Academy Award nomination for his work on Rain Man. He moved to Los Angeles following the success of the film.

In 1989 Zimmer won a Grammy Award nomination for his work on Driving Miss Daisy. He also received industry and audience recognition for the score for Thelma & Louise in 1991. In 1994, Zimmer produced his most successful score up to that point when he worked on The Lion King. The soundtrack became the most successful in the history of Walt Disney Records with 12 million copies sold worldwide. The following year, Zimmer won a Golden Globe for Best Original Score, a Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Score, an American Music Award for Best Album of the Year, two Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score for The Lion King on Broadway.

Zimmer saw his success with The Lion King as a fork in the road of his career. "Lion King made me reassess my situation in this town," Zimmer told Black. "You can go two ways. I admit that standing on the stage and getting an Oscar [Academy Award] is the most seductive moment one can have in one's life. It is truly overwhelming. Then you go, 'Wow, if I just carry on writing nice music like this, I can have this moment again....' That's why I did the exact opposite, scoring for truly offensive projects like The Fan. Just to shake myself out of the desire for that Oscar experience. Otherwise, I would just stagnate."

Although he chose to take the path less glittered, Zimmer did continue to receive recognition for his work. In 1996, he won a Grammy Award for his score for Crimson Tide, and he received another Academy Award nomination for The Preacher's Wife. That same year, the performing rights organization BMI presented him with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award before Zimmer was even 40 years old. He received another Academy Award nomination in 1998 for the score to As Good As It Gets.

In the late 1990s, Zimmer accepted a position as head of the music division with the DreamWorks SKG studio. While there, he supervised the music for all of their film and television projects and wrote the score for the animated feature The Prince of Egypt, which earned him both a Golden Globe nomination and an Academy Award nomination. He also wrote the score for The Road to El Dorado, another DreamWorks animated feature. In 2000, Zimmer worked with DreamWorks and director Ridley Scott on the hit film Gladiator. He also wrote the score for Mission: Impossible 2, released that same year. On October 10, 2000, Zimmer performed a rare live concert with the Flemish Radio Orchestra in Ghent, Belgium, to celebrate the opening of the 27th Flanders International Film Festival. The following year, his scores appeared on two more hit movies, Hannibal and Pearl Harbor.

In addition to his work as a composer, Zimmer formed a business with his partner Jay Rifkin called Media Ventures in 1989. The company serves as a conglomerate of composers who can produce and record nearly anything related to media music. The business also gives Zimmer a way to help talented new composers in the same way that Myers helped him when he was just starting out. In the end, though, Zimmer's heart is firmly planted in film scoring. "If something happened where I couldn't write music anymore, it would kill me," he told CNN Worldbeat. "It's not just a job, it's not just a hobby; it's why I get up in the morning."

Over the years, Zimmer has earned a reputation for maximizing the use of electronics and technological inventions in his music. As such, he has been able to produce sounds and textures that had not previously been heard in film music. Despite all of the recognition he has received for his work, Zimmer remains one of his own harshest critics. Of all the scores he has written, he has been proud of very few. Those that make his list of personal favorites include A World Apart, Driving Miss Daisy, Drop Zone, True Romance, The Fan, Crimson Tide, Prince of Egypt, and Two Deaths, a small film he did for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the United Kingdom.

In December 2010, Zimmer received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He dedicated the award to his publicist and long term friend Ronni Chasen, who was shot dead in Beverly Hills the previous month.Zimmer composed and produced the music for the 84th Academy Awards with Pharell Williams of The Neptunes.

In 2012, Zimmer composed the soundtrack for the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy "Dark Knight Rises". The film is scheduled for release in July 2012.

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