Hans Zimmer Honors Ukraine Pianist Who Played ‘Inception’ Music During Air Raid: ‘I’m Astonished’

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Hans Zimmer paused a concert at London’s O2 Arena this week to honor a Ukrainian pianist who stood defiant in the face of an impending Russian air raid by playing the main theme of Zimmer’s “Inception” (officially titled “Time”) on a piano in the street. Video of the pianist’s performance was uploaded to social media by National Geographic photographer John Stanmeyer.

“When bomb sirens began, police asked everyone to move inside the railway station,” Stanmeyer wrote in a caption accompanying the video. “Alex [@alexpian_official] wouldn’t stop, playing his piano louder against the air raid warning. His friend joined with the most calming pink nails. A simple, overwhelming one-minute passion against fear, against war…He went on and on, never letting go.”

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Zimmer discovered the video and decided to show the Ukrainian pianist’s rendition of the “Inception” theme during his O2 concert. The Oscar-winning composer paused the concert and displayed Stanmeyer’s recorded video of the pianist on the giant O2 arena screen. Zimmer even sent a message to the pianist on social media.

“Hello, Alex. This is Hans Zimmer and I’m just astonished by your rendition of ‘Time’ in the time of crisis,” Zimmer said. “I’m astonished by what you did with the music. It absolutely lifts the spirits of the Ukrainian people. We’re are on your side. We will play ‘Time’ for you tonight. We will always play ‘Time’ for you. We will always be there for you. Thank you.”

Zimmer also honored Ukraine before playing the main theme from his “Wonder Woman” score. The composer informed the audience that there were orchestra members from Ukraine, but not as many as was initially planned because of the war.

“When COVID stopped us from coming here 885 days ago, we booked our orchestra from the Ukraine, from Odessa, and we only managed to get 10 people out,” Zimmer said (via NME). “So just welcome them.”

“One of the things which I thought was remarkable about the people that we did bring back out of the Ukraine, that were left behind from the orchestra, it was a lot of women. They taught me who the real wonder women are and so I would like to celebrate them with this little ditty called ‘Wonder Woman.’”

Zimmer is Oscar-nominated this year for original score thanks to his work on Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune.” The composer is not expected to attend the Oscars as his music tour continues through Europe.

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