Unusually for a small child, Hans Florian Zimmer knew he wanted to be a composer from an early age and despite having no formal music education showed an aptitude for the keyboards. After attending sixth-form college in Surrey, England he worked with several bands playing keyboards and synthesisers as well as gaining employment as a composer of commercial jingles for Air-Edel Associates and around this time he also wrote and recorded the theme for the popular UK TV game show 'Going For Gold'. With the early 80s often dominated by synth bands Zimmer teamed-up with Ultravox drummer Warren Cann to form the band Helden that released two unsuccessful singles ('Holding On' and 'Stranded') before the duo went on tour with the hugely popular Spanish synth-pop band Mecano. Zimmer also worked with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes on their Buggles project and despite not performing on the record he is seen fleetingly in the video for the perennial hit single 'Video Killed The Radio Star'.
Partnering with veteran composer Stanley Myers the pair set-up the Lille Yard recording studios in London and had significant success with the scores for the movies Moonlighting (1982), Success Is The Best Revenge (1984), My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) as well as two Nicolas Roeg films Eureka (1983) and Insignificance (1985). After making his solo composing debut in 1987 with low-key movies including Terminal Exposure and A World Apart as well as acting as score producer for the Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Byrne composition for Bernardo Bertolucci's movie The Last Emperor he wisely accepted a commission to compose the score for the Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise film Rain Man (1988). The recognition he received for the movie (including an Oscar nomination) raised his stock in the industry and over the next few years he was much sought after and composed the scores for numerous high profile movies including the gentle comedy drama Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Ridley Scott's Black Rain (1989), Bird On A Wire (1990), Tom's Cruise's motor racing drama Days Of Thunder (1990), Gérard Depardieu's English-language debut Green Card (1990), Pacific Heights (1990), Chicago Joe And The Showgirl (1990) (written with Shirley Walker), Ron Howard's Backdraft (1991), the classic Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis road movie Thelma And Louise (1991), Harrison Ford's Regarding Henry (1991), Where Sleeping Dogs Lie (with Mark Mancina) (1991), K2 (1991), Radio Flyer (1991), The Power Of One (1992), the baseball film A League Of Their Own (1992), the Robin Williams fantasy Toys which teamed him with his old Buggles collaborator Trevor Horn (1992), Point Of No Return (1993), Calendar Girl (1993), Younger And Younger (1993), Tony Scott's True Romance (1993), Cool Runnings (1993), The House Of The Spirits (1993), Renaissance Man (1994), Drop Zone (1994), the claustrophobic submarine drama Crimson Tide (1995), Beyond Rangoon (1995), Nine Months (1995), Something To Talk About (1995), the John Woo action film Broken Arrow (1996), The Fan (1996), The Preacher's Wife (1996), Smilla's Sense Of Snow (1997), The Peacemaker (1997), As Good As It Gets (1997), Terence Malick's all-star World War II ensemble The Thin Red Line (1998), Mission Impossible II (2000), Black Hawk Down (2000), Gladiator (2000) (written with Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard), Pearl Harbor, (2001), The Pledge (2001), The Ring (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Frost/Nixon (2008), Angels & Demons (2009), Sherlock Holmes (2009), Inception (2010), Man Of Steel (2013), The Lone Ranger (2013), 12 Years A Slave (2013), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Interstellar (2014) plus all three of the Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Batman trilogy and three of the four Pirates Of The Caribbean films.
Having made his animation debut scoring Disney's The Lion King (1994) Zimmer went on to score numerous others including; Muppet Treasure Island (1996), the biblical The Prince Of Egypt (1998), The Road To Eldorado (2000), Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron (2002), Shark Tale (2004), The Little Polar Bear 2 (2005), Madagascar (2005), The Simpsons Movie (2007), Kung Fu Panda (2008), Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008), Secrets Of The Furious Five (2008), Megamind (2010) and Megamind: The Button Of Doom (2011), Rango (2011), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) and the Simpsons 3D spin-off short The Longest Daycare (2012). Additionally Zimmer has produced (but not composed) dozens of film scores and written the music for documentaries, TV series and video games.
Recognised by the film and music industries as an immense and towering talent Zimmer's music has been rewarded with an equally impressive number of awards including one Academy Award (an Oscar), two Golden Globes, two Annies, three Satellite Awards, two Saturn Awards, three Classical BRIT Awards and four Grammys. As with a few others of his generation Zimmer's roots in pop and particularly synthesiser driven music has allowed him to utilise his keyboard skills and his familiarity with digital technology to compliment traditional compositional techniques and create a body of work that is unique but never formulaic. His catalogue is already breathtaking and is unquestionably set to continue to grow as he already recognised as one of the greatest film composers of all-time.
Copyright © 2016 Omnibus Press