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Composer Hans Zimmer is bringing his blockbuster-inspired live shows to Toronto in North American tour

Award-winning composer and music producer Hans Zimmer, shown in a handout photo, is bringing his high-energy live shows to Canada. (Frank Embacher / The Canadian Press) Award-winning composer and music producer Hans Zimmer, shown in a handout photo, is bringing his high-energy live shows to Canada. (Frank Embacher / The Canadian Press)
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Oscar-winning German composer Hans Zimmer has produced some of Hollywood’s best-known film scores, written countless pieces of music and recently put on sold-out live shows across Europe.

But decades into his illustrious career, he says the same fleeting thought still enters his mind every time he walks towards the stage: “It's going to be a disaster. I am going to fail.”

The idea that something might go “horribly, horribly wrong” is borne out of stage fright that everyone has, Zimmer said in an interview from New York.

“But ultimately, the experience of making the connection with all those people … is so much more rewarding and so much more wonderful in a very different way than making a movie. The movie only works once," said the 66-year-old, who won his second Academy Award for his work on Quebec director Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.”

“I can’t help it,” Zimmer said. “I have to put on a show.”

He is bringing the high-energy Hans Zimmer Live tour to North America later this year, including stops in three Canadian cities.

It will kick off in Duluth, Ga., on Sept. 6 and end in Vancouver on Oct. 6. There will also be stops in Montreal on Sept. 17 and Toronto on Sept. 19.

Zimmer’s band and the orchestra will perform a selection of some of his most beloved scores, including music from blockbusters “Gladiator,” “The Lion King,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Dark Knight,” “Interstellar” – and of course, “Dune.”

He said the shows will feature “extraordinary” musicians who make up what he believes to be “the best band in the world” right now.

“I have about as much stagecraft as a dead lobster. They know what they're doing,” Zimmer said. “I just treat the whole thing as if it was a dinner party.”

Zimmer, whose work also earned him four Grammys, said he was partly driven to live performances after his friends “badgered” him about spending his career in a dark room, behind a computer screen. But he also wanted to see if the music he created for the big screen could “stand on its own two feet,” which is why not a single movie frame is featured in the shows.

“It's very much a rock 'n' roll attitude,” Zimmer said of the tour, noting that the music moves audiences differently, depending on the generation – and location.

“I look out and I see a grandma with her grandson sitting next to a punk with a mohawk, sitting next to a guy in a business suit, sitting next to two little girls. And it's fabulous because it means something different to everybody who was there.”

Zimmer said he’s especially thrilled about the upcoming tour dates in Canada.

"What I love about Canadian audiences is: You're polite. Until I unleash you. And then you guys go crazy,” he said. “And I love that.”

Zimmer recalled performing “two very sort of average shows” years ago and then heading to Montreal, where the reception was very different.

“It was like, whoa … hold on to your hat,” he said. “It was absolutely brilliant.”

Zimmer’s affinity for Canada is also rooted in his successful collaborations with Villeneuve. The composer also created the score for the recently released “Dune: Part Two” and is poised to keep writing more music for an anticipated third instalment of the sci-fi franchise.

“Do you ever get to do things with your best friend? That’s what it’s like (working with Villeneuve),” Zimmer said.

“It's impossible to describe music, and it's impossible to describe some of the images he's creating. So I just start playing … and sometimes I get from him: ‘Oh, yeah, that’s sort of what I heard in my head.’”

In a way, Zimmer has a similar relationship with his live audiences, describing them as his music collaborators and “co-conspirators.”

“We're figuring out in this crazy language of music that doesn't need words, that we can connect in an extraordinary way,” he said.

Tickets for the Hans Zimmer Live tour in U.S. and Canada, presented by Semmel Concerts and Concerts West, go on sale March 22 at www.hanszimmerlive.com.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2024.

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