Born in Frankfurt in 1957, Hans Florian Zimmer escaped into music just as his mother had escaped the horrors of the second world war.
Virtually self taught, this young man from a modest German background has now become one of the worlds most renowned music composers with over 150 scores under his belt. Zimmer is known for creating unconventional sounds alongside the typical orchestral line-up and is well known for his use of electronics. With Germany leading the way for electronica in the 70’s it makes sense that this musical creative would implement these new and exciting instruments into his compositions, which he continues to do today. Zimmer got his first big break when he composed the unforgettable score for the Barry Levinson drama Rain Man. Here he decided to use synthesizers and unconventionally some steel percussion. This odd choice for a heartfelt movie made it not only stand out considerably but also displayed Zimmer’s out of the box creative thinking. The soundtrack included big dance sounding numbers typical of 80’s films along with a rich and compelling wind-like theme. As his popularity rose, he was hired by bigger and bigger directors working alongside Tony Scott, Richard Donner and Ron Howard. His next giant ascent came when he composed the score for Disney’s 1994 smash hit The Lion King. Alongside musical giants Elton John and Tim Rice, Zimmer composed much of the unforgettable music that unquestionably helped the animation stand high above its competitors. Using inspired African sounds of pounding percussion, harmonic chanting voices all topped off with elating and saddening themes that have stuck with generations of animation lovers. Similarly in 1998 he worked on The Prince Of Egypt for Dreamworks providing an equally deep, contemplative and culturally appropriate score for an animation this time taking its story from the Bible.
As he entered the 2000s as an award-winning composer, Zimmer was booked to create the sounds for movies with more epic sensibility and scale. The vocal led sounds of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator gained him another Academy Award for best soundtrack. He also co-created the soundtrack for and other Disney blockbuster this time Pirates of the Caribbean. With a seamless ability to adapt to the theme and environment of the film Zimmer is often overlooked by the public as the composer as his sounds are so diverse he is difficult to detect by ear.