Few musicians working in Hollywood today fully deserve as much respect and fame that Hans Zimmer, the German-born film composer and record producer has earned. Consider for a moment such acclaimed films as “The Gladiator” and “The Lion King”, both of which owed a great deal to the riveting scores he created, and each of which I enjoyed as much for its magical content as for its epic orchestral music – here and now you may listen to a piano version by Patrik Piteshmann on YouTube of ‘Now We Are Free’ from “The Gladiator.”
Hans Zimmer was born in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, 60 years ago on 12th September 1957, to an engineer father and housewife mother. He said that his mother was a musical lady, so he naturally developed a taste for music. However, once he was admitted to piano classes, he disliked it stating that he didn’t want any formal training in music. With the arrival of computers and the evolution of electronic music, Zimmer got hooked on toying with the new devices and instruments. But, the piano lessons he learned as a child somehow stayed with him.
In the early 1970s, Zimmer embarked on a career in music after making a move to the UK and joined a few bands here and there, where he played mainly electronic Keyboards and Synthesizers.
His first stint with film scoring happened during an association with Stanley Meyers, who was a prolific film composer and along with him, Zimmer developed his style of mixing orchestral music with classical sounds and worked on films like ‘Moonlighting’ and ‘Insignificance’.
After scoring for a few more films came the first turning point in his professional career: the chance to score the music for the film ‘The Last Emperor’, a 1987 film which went on to receive the Academy Award for Original Score. It was the first time I was introduced to Zimmer’s distinctive musical genius.
In 1992, for the film ‘The Power of One’; he traveled to Africa to introduce himself to African choirs and drums. The things he learned there helped him greatly in bagging Disney’s mega animation film ‘The Lion King’. The film was a massive critical and commercial success and due credit was given to Zimmer for his excellent work as a musician. The film ended up with roaring acclaim at award functions, and Zimmer won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and two Grammys. More recently, he composed the theme music for the 2006 Netflix production ‘The Crown’.
Personal Note: Hans Zimmer’s first marriage was to a model named Vicki Carolin. The couple had a daughter, who happens to be a successful model, Zoe Zimmer. After Hans’s marriage with Vicki ended, he started dating Suzanne Zimmer, with whom he presently lives in Los Angeles along with their three children.
I found it worthwhile checking out the opening theme from ‘Gladiator’ in the following transcription for piano:
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