You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hans Zimmer Live: Composer Breaks Out With Performing Career

Last month’s unexpected appearance by Hans Zimmer conducting an all-female string section behind Pharrell Williams on “Saturday Night Live,” it turns out, was just the beginning of Zimmer’s newfound performing career.

On July 18, he will join several other composers on stage at the Hollywood Bowl for “DreamWorks Animation in Concert,” celebrating the studio’s 20th anniversary, with host Jack Black and Zimmer’s fellow composers including Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell.

But the big one, he revealed to Variety, will be Oct. 10-11 in London (venue still to be announced) when Zimmer performs many of his movie hits with an orchestra and a pop band. Plans are still sketchy. “I’m still trying to hunt down the idea,” he admits.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” he says, despite having what he calls “really bad stage fright. If I don’t do it now, that’s something I will regret.”

Zimmer participated in an entire concert of his works (including excerpts from “Gladiator,” “The Thin Red Line,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and his Oscar-winning “The Lion King”) in Ghent, Belgium, in 2000, when he was honored by the Flanders Film Festival. He returned there in 2011 to pay tribute to his friend and publicist Ronni Chasen in another performance.

He’s been known to be dragged out occasionally to perform at film premieres: With guitarist Johnny Marr, he performed a 20-minute suite from “Inception” at the film’s 2010 Los Angeles premiere, and his “Magnificent Six” rock and pop collaborators on his “Amazing Spider-Man 2” score joined him for the New York premiere April 24.

“I’m going to figure out how to do a few shows,” Zimmer says. “As a film composer, you don’t write about what you see on the screen. You write the subtext. So I thought, is there a way of illuminating that subtext, a way of presenting the music in a different context but still have some visual elements?”

He is not keen on the current vogue of re-creating the score while the complete film unspools in a concert setting (although his own “Gladiator” will be performed that way at London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 24-28 with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus). However he is planning to perform with both an orchestra and, it appears, at least a handful of rock ’n’ roll soloists.

“I’ve got some friends who might want to help me,” Zimmer teases, suggesting that Marr and Pharrell Williams might be on the London bill with him. He also suggested that further concert dates are likely, both in the U.S. and Europe.

More Music

  • Elizabeth Warren Taylor Swift

    Elizabeth Warren Backs Taylor Swift in Big Machine Battle, Slams Private Equity Firms

    Taylor Swift’s battle with Big Machine has spilled into the political arena. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren retweeted Swift’s Thursday message about her former record label preventing her from performing her old hits at the American Music Awards, adding that Swift is “one of many whose work as been threatened by a private equity firm.” [...]

  • Cynthia Erivo

    Cynthia Erivo Almost Gave Up Singing to Become a Spinal Surgeon

    Before Cynthia Erivo went on to become a Tony and Grammy winner, she nearly gave up singing to be a spinal surgeon. In her “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” conversation with Alfre Woodard, the “Harriet” star said she had been singing since she was toddler. Her mother noticed she’d hum while eating her food when [...]

  • 'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With

    'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With Columbia

    Hotly tipped singer-songwriter Arizona Zervas, whose viral hit “Roxanne” is in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,  has signed with Columbia, Variety has confirmed. Since the release of the track on Oct. 10, “Roxanne” has reached nearly 50 million streams on Spotify. The single topped Spotify U.S. top tracks chart for an uninterrupted [...]

  • taylor swift, scott borchetta and scooter

    Rage Against the Big Machine: What's Driving the Taylor Swift Showdown

    The latest Taylor Swift-Scooter Braun-Scott Borchetta kerfuffle involves the sort of music business minutiae that doesn’t commonly interest the general public — in fact, it’s probably safe to say that untold thousands if not millions of people are suddenly familiar with the concept of re-recording old masters. But in blasting Braun on social media and [...]

  • Lil Peep Everybody's Everything

    Album Review: Lil Peep's 'Everybody's Everything'

    When Lil Peep died after an accidental overdose in 2017 at age 21, we had still only just touched on the life and aesthetic of the neophyte emo-trap-punk-rap king. We were just beginning to find out how he went from an Allentown, PA working class youth with an absentee father, and a child of mental [...]

  • Lauryn Hill Drops First New Solo

    Lauryn Hill Drops First New Solo Song in Five Years, ‘Guarding the Gates’ (Listen)

    Lauryn Hill dropped her first new solo song in five years on Friday morning, “Guarding the Gates,” from the forthcoming film “Queen & Slim.” While the song was announced several weeks ago, Hill songs have been few and far between in the 20 years since her Grammy-cleanup blockbuster debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content