Hans Zimmer on the war in Ukraine, his upcoming live album and 2023 European tour

17 October 2022, 10:33 | Updated: 17 October 2022, 12:18

Hans Zimmer announced his upcoming 2023 album and tour earlier this month
Hans Zimmer announced his upcoming 2023 album and tour earlier this month. Picture: Lee Kirby

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Two-time Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer reflects on his 2022 tour, which featured Ukrainian musicians, as he announces his new album and upcoming European tour.

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Hans Zimmer is now one of the most legendary names in the history of film and TV music.

The 65-year-old German-born composer has worked on over 500 projects across his prolific 40-year-career, producing some of the silver screen’s best love soundtracks.

From The Lion King, to the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Zimmer’s versatile, yet still distinctive sound, has made him a popular choice for directors in Hollywood looking to score their next box office hit.

So beloved has his music been that in 2022, Zimmer toured across Europe with his 20-piece band – ‘The Disruptive Collective’, and members of the Odesa Opera Orchestra and Choir, playing to packed out arenas in every city that visited.

In each concert, Zimmer and his band would play reimaginations of the Grammy-award winning composer’s most famed compositions, and over 10-days during the tour, a selection of these have been recorded as a new album.

‘Hans Zimmer LIVE’, will be released on 3rd March 2023 as a double album by Sony Classical.

Read more: Hans Zimmer wins Oscar for ‘Dune’, accepts award in his dressing gown

Hans Zimmer LIVE was recorded by Hans Zimmer’s friend and producer, Stephen Lipson, and the pair spent weeks mixing the upcoming double album.

While the Hans Zimmer LIVE show is a cacophony of intricate light and sound design elements, Zimmer’s instruction for Lipson when it came to the album, was to focus on the music.

“I simply wanted to produce the best album,” Zimmer told Sony Classical ahead of the release announcement, “I wanted to create an opportunity for the music to breathe a little differently, in its own context.”

However, for fans who do want to experience the Hans Zimmer LIVE concert in person, the composer announced that the Hans Zimmer LIVE tour would be returning in April 2023, one month after the release of the new album.

The European arena tour will comprise of 32 concerts across 15 countries, including new stops in Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Germany. Hans Zimmer LIVE will come to London’s O2 on 14th and 15th June 2023, and Manchester’s AO Arena on 16th June 2023.

Read more: The 10 best Hans Zimmer soundtracks

Hans Zimmer Live and its connection to the war in Ukraine

Zimmer speaks fondly of all of the musicians he worked with on the tour, but this year in particular, he was especially grateful for the members of his orchestra.

“Our orchestra was from Odesa,”, Zimmer explained at a recent London press conference, “we had booked them three years earlier. And when the war started in February earlier this year, we managed to get 10 people out.

“[The band] all became very close, because these [orchestral musicians] were suddenly without a roof over their head and without a home; without anything. They were constantly worried about their families, constantly worried about their country.

“And I just want to say, I was just stunned with how they could go and play every night, how they could get through these concerts without running to get to the phone to find out [if their loved ones were okay].

“I remember, these stories would trickle back across the stage to me; ‘somebody's house got bombed’, ‘we're not sure if mom is okay’, or ‘somebody had to go to the front’.

“So what we’re talking about, it wasn't a normal tour. It wasn't. It wasn't the complications and the difficulties, you have with a normal tour. It was so much more than that.”

Read more: Ukraine’s powerful anthem fills Odesa Opera House, as it reopens for first time since Russian invasion

At the second London show of the 2022 Hans Zimmer LIVE tour, the composer halted the concert before the final piece to play a video, found by his daughter on Instagram.

The video showed a Ukrainian pianist playing Zimmer’s piece ‘Time’ from the 2010 blockbuster, ‘Inception’, as air raid sirens could be clearly heard blasting in the background.

The pianist’s (Alex Karpenko) video was projected up on a high screen in London’s O2 Arena, and after it had played out, Zimmer’s band echoed the piece with their own rendition.

Zimmer concluded his orchestra’s performance by saying, “How lucky are we that we can listen to this piece of music without sirens, and without bombs”.

He then turned to members of the Odesa Opera Orchestra in his band and ended, “Our hearts are with you and with your people.”

Hans Zimmer LIVE, will be released on 3rd March 2023, and can be preordered now here.

Fans can continue to experience the Hans Zimmer LIVE concert tour in April 2023. For more information, visit the tour website.