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Germans and the American Dream: Hans Zimmer, the Hollywood composer from Frankfurt

In der Reihe „Germans and the American Dream“ stellen wir jeden Monat eine:n deutsche:n Auswanderer:in vor, der oder die sich auf der anderen Seite des Atlantiks einen Namen gemacht und den Amerikanischen Traum gelebt hat oder lebt. In der aktuellen Ausgabe der Read On wird es musikalisch: Das Porträt schildert, wie Hans Zimmer zu einem der bekanntesten Filmkomponisten in der Traumfabrik Hollywood wurde.

Hans Zimmer, the Hollywood composer from Frankfurt


The German has scored the music for some of the world’s best known films.

By Franziska Lange

1                 As a child, Hans Zimmer was no musical wunderkind – he couldn’t stand more than two weeks of piano lessons. He wasn’t great at school either and was thrown out of eight of them. But he’s living proof that you don’t need to start big to make it big. Zimmer is now one of the most famous film score composers of all time.

2                 Over a career of 40 years, Zimmer has scored the music to more than 150 films, including blockbusters like Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean and Dune.

3                 All of Zimmer’s projects combined have grossed more than 28 billion dollars at the worldwide box office. He has won two Oscars, three Golden Globes and four Grammys. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and an asteroid was named after him, which is fitting – given his meteoric rise to fame.

4                 Hans Florian Zimmer was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, on September 12, 1957. He says, “I’ve always heard music in my head” and calls music his “best friend”. But he didn’t like music lessons and is completely self-taught.

5                 Zimmer attended boarding schools in Switzerland and England before beginning his musical career playing keyboards and synthesizers for different bands in the 1970s.

               To stay afloat as a young man living in London, Zimmer began writing advertising jingles. It was through this work that he met the film composer Stanley Myers, whose assistant he became in 1980. Zimmer learnt a lot from Myers about composing for a complete orchestra whilst they worked on films together.

7                 Zimmer started working on solo projects and developed his own style, the typical Zimmer sound for which he would become famous: a combination of orchestral music and electronic sounds.

Den vollständigen Artikel lesen Sie in der aktuellen Ausgabe der Read On.


0–1           composer Komponist(in) — to score die Musik zu etw. komponieren — s.o. cannot stand s.th. jd. kann etw. nicht ertragen — to get thrown out of s.th. aus etw. rausgeworfen werden; etw. verwiesen werden — living proof der lebende Beweis — to make it big (fig) groß rauskommen

2–3           Pirates of the Caribbean dt. Titel: Fluch der Karibik — to gross (Geld) einspielen — billion Milliarde — box office Kinokasse — Walk of Fame Gehweg in L.A., wo sich die Filmgrößen mit Unterschrift, Handabdruck und einem Stern verewigen dürfen — fitting passend; angemessen — meteoric rise to fame (fig) kometenhafter Aufstieg (fame Ruhm)

4–7           to be self-taught sich alles selbst beigebracht haben — boarding school Internat — to stay afloat (fig) sich finanziell über Wasser halten — advertising jingle Werbesong

Photo: Pixabay/Prawny