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Hans Zimmer has scored over 100 films, grossing more than 22 billion dollars at the box office worldwide. He has been honored with an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, and four Grammy’s.In 2003, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers presented him the prestigious Henry Mancini award for Lifetime Achievement for his impressive and influential body of work.
Hans’ interest in music began early, and after a move from Germany to the U.K., would lead to playing with and producing various bands, including The Buggles, whose “Video Killed the Radio Star” was the first music video to ever appear on MTV. But the world of film music was what Hans really wanted to be involved with. Not long after meeting established film composer Stanley Myers, the two founded the London-based Lillie Yard Recording Studios together, collaborating on such films as My Beautiful Laundrette.
It was Hans’ solo work in 1988’s A World Apart, however, that gained the attention of director Barry Levinson, who then asked Hans to score Rain Man, Hans’ first American film. Levinson’s instinct was right – the score’s Oscar nomination that followed would be the first of nine.
With Hans’ subsequent move to Hollywood, he expanded the range of genres of film music he explored, and his first venture into the world of animation, 1994’s The Lion King, brought Hans the Oscar. The Lion King’s soundtrack has sold over 15 million copies to date, and The Lion King Musical has gone on to win a Tony Award, and to become Broadway’s ninth-longest-running show in history.
A number of scores for animated films have followed, including co-writing four Bryan Adams songs for Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, including the Golden Globe nominated “Here I Am.” Hans has also scored The Simpsons Movie, Kung Fu Panda and collaborated with will.i.am in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
Hans’ career has been marked by a unique ability to adeptly move between genres – between smaller films and comedies (such as Driving Miss Daisy, Peter Weir’s Green Card, Tony Scott’s True Romance, Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise, James L. Brooks’ As Good As It Gets, Nancy Meyers’ Something’s Gotta Give, and The Holiday) and big blockbusters (including Tony Scott’s Crimson Tide, John Woo’s Mission: Impossible 2, Ridley Scott’s Hannibal, Black Hawk Down, Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai, Gore Verbinski’s The Pirates of the Caribbean series, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, andRon Howard’s The Da Vinci Code).
In the middle of Hans’ unparalleled pace of taking on new projects, his ability to innovate, to re-invent genres is what is perhaps most striking. The film scores Hans has done this for speak for themselves, whether it has been for drama in Barry Levinson’s Rain Man, action in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain, war in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line, or most recently the dark comic book world of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, for which he received another Grammy.
It was Hans’ unique take on the historical in Gladiator that earned him another Golden Globe. The album sold more than three million copies worldwide and spawned a second album “Gladiator: More Music from the Motion Picture.”
Hans’ roots in performing never left him, and in 2000, Hans performed his film music live for the first time in a concert at the 27th annual Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent, Belgium. With a 100-piece orchestra and 100-piece choir, he performed a number of newly orchestrated concert versions of a selection of his work. The concert was recorded by Decca and released as a concert album entitled “The Wings of a Film: The Music of Hans Zimmer.”
His background in collaboration and mentoring never left Hans either, and he created a Santa Monica based musical ‘think tank’, Remote Control Productions, in order to build a creative environment to nurture the talent of those new to the composing world. In the process, he has launched the careers of an unparalleled number of film and television composers, including John Powell (the Bourne Trilogy), Harry-Gregson Williams (Shrek, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason), Geoff Zanelli (Disturbia), Heitor Pereira (Curious George, Despicable Me 1 & 2, The Smurfs 1 & 2), Henry Jackman (Monsters vs. Aliens, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Wreck-It Ralph, Turbo), James Dooley (Pushing Daisies), James Levine (Nip / Tuck, Damages, The Closer, Glee), Ramin Djawadi (Pacific Rim, Iron Man), Rupert Gregson-Williams (Hotel Rwanda, Just Go With It, Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2), Steve Jablonsky (Transformers series), and Trevor Morris (The Tudors).
Hans has received a total of 10 Golden Globe Nominations, 10 Grammy Nominations, and 9 Oscar Nominations, the most recent for Christopher Nolan’s Inception. His innovative and powerful score has been praised as the Best Score of 2010 by countless critics’ groups and has earned him BAFTA, Golden Globe, Grammy and Critics Choice Award nominations. His other Oscar nominations include Sherlock Holmes, Rain Man, Gladiator, The Lion King, As Good As It Gets, The Preacher’s Wife, The Thin Red Line and The Prince of Egypt. Hans has been honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in Film Composition from the National Board of Review. He also received his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 2010. Zimmer served as Music Director for the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.
His latest films include: The Amazing Spider-Man 2; Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave; Ron Howard’s Rush; Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel; Son of God; The Lone Ranger; The Dark Knight Rises, which marked his fourth collaboration with director Christopher Nolan following Inception; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides directed by Rob Marshall; Kung Fu Panda 2; Gore Verbinski’s Rango; Megamind; How Do You Know; Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated; Kung Fu Panda; Madagascar 2; Frost / Nixon; The Dark Knight; and Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons. Zimmer also scored the title sequence to the hit 2013 History miniseries The Bible, created by Mark Burnett. Zimmer is currently scoring Insterstellar for his longtime collaborator Christopher Nolan, which will be release in November 2014.