Hans Zimmer, composer for movies from ‘Dune’ to ‘Dark Knight,’ talks North American tour


For generations, German composer Hans Zimmer’s film scores have soundtracked magic movie moments in “The Lion King,” “Gladiator,” the “Dark Knight” trilogy, and most recently, “Dune” and “Dune: Part Two.” This fall, Zimmer will bring his award-winning scores to the live stage.

His “Hans Zimmer Live” tour, which sold out in Europe, will make its way to the U.S. and Canada this fall, marking the first time Zimmer has performed in North America in seven years.

The last time, as some fans may recall, was a 2017 Coachella performance.


Over Zoom from New York, Zimmer said he was inspired after “refusing to get onto a stage for 40 years” because of something his friends, The Smiths’ Johnny Marr and Pharrell Williams, told him.

“You have to look your audience in the eye. You can’t hide behind the screen forever. You know, you owe it to your, you know, audience,” he says they told him. And after Coachella, he realized: “I can do this,” he said.

Having done the run in Europe, “we’re at the top of our game at the moment,” he says of his orchestra.

Don’t expect a traditional, classical music setting or a piano concerto — at “Hans Zimmer Live,” there is no conductor, no sheet music in front of each musician, and not a single frame from any of the films he’s referencing.

“I come from rock and roll and I believe in putting on a show,” he says. “People stay with us because we give them an experience which they’ve never had before… Life is hard. Life is tough these days. And people worked hard to go to pay for these tickets, so we better pull off a show that is absolutely worthy of them coming and seeing us.”

“Hans Zimmer Live” kicks off at the Gas South Arena in Duluth, Ga. on Sept. 6 and will hit 17 cities across the U.S. and Canada before concluding at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia on Oct. 6.

The tour includes stops in Hollywood, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; New York; Baltimore; Boston; Montreal and Toronto; Minneapolis; Chicago; Fort Worth, Texas; Denver; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Oakland, California, and Seattle.

Zimmer says attendees can expect a diverse audience. “I’ve looked out at the audience and there’s a mom with her grandson sitting next to a guy with a mohawk, sitting next to a man in a business suit, sitting next to another bunch of, you know, bikers,” Zimmer said. “So, it’s not just multi-generational, it’s multicultural.”

In more ways than one: Zimmer’s orchestra is from Ukraine; “Two weeks after the invasion started, we managed to get about half of them out of Odessa,” he says. Lebo M, who sings “The Lion King” theme, was a political refugee from South Africa when Zimmer first met him. Pedro Eustache, his woodwind player, is from Venezuela, “and he thinks he can probably never go back home,” says Zimmer.

“I have this very, very international group of players and … part of what makes them such emotionally committed musicians is that they all have a story to tell you.”

“Hans Zimmer Live,” which has been recently rearranged, includes works from “Gladiator,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Dark Knight,” “Interstellar,” “The Lion King,” “The Last Samurai,” and “Dune.”

“Each piece is connected with the adventure of actually creating it, the adventure of actually making that movie, the adventure of the collaboration, the adventure of, you know, ‘How did we get here?”, he says. “Where did this journey start? And how can we make sure that it never ends?

“Each one of those movies is painted in color and affected by what is going on around us. And they have all been extraordinary journeys.”

All of these films and their scores are vastly different, but Zimmer’s idiosyncratic approach and arrangements should be considered the connective tissue. That, and a certain je ne sais quoi that makes an effective — and affecting — score.

“You need to be committed. You need to be honest. You can’t be sentimental,” he says of a successful score. “The other thing is, it’s the people who are performing it. Because if you think about it, the last actors that really get hired, the last actors that perform in a movie, are the musicians. So, I’m very careful about picking the people I work with.”

Tickets for “Hans Zimmer Live” will become available for purchase at www.hanszimmerlive.com, starting at March 22 at 10 am local time.

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