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Hans Zimmer hails viral Ukrainian pianist during London show

Legendary composer Hans Zimmer took some time during his London concert last week to pay tribute to the Ukrainian pianist who went viral after playing the Inception theme in a bomb shelter. 

The footage from a bomb shelter in Lviv, Ukraine, began to spread online earlier this month. The video shows a young pianist named Alex playing the famous Zimmer theme song from the 2010 film. The defiant musician refused to stop playing even after air raid sirens had begun to ring out.

“When bomb sirens began, police asked everyone to move inside the railway station,” photographer John Stanmeyer wrote on Instagram alongside footage of the incident. “Alex 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”.

At his show at The O2 in London last week, Zimmer played the clip on the big screen behind the orchestra on stage and also spoke to Alex via a video on social media. 

“Hello, Alex. This is Hans Zimmer, and I’m just astonished by your rendition of ‘Time’ in the time of crisis,” he said in the video. “I’m astonished by what you did with the music. It absolutely lifts the spirits of the Ukrainian people. [We] 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.”

During the London performance, Zimmer teamed up with Ukraine’s Odessa Opera Orchestra and began the show with an emotional tribute to the musicians and the Ukrainian people suffering during the ongoing conflict.

“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… So just welcome them…” he said before he introduced the orchestra, to a standing ovation.

Zimmer continued: “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.”

Watch Zimmer’s social media post as reposted by Alex, the Ukrainian pianist, below.