Zimmer and Balfe Unveil Next ‘Musical Genius’

Man approaches pipe organ in the clip "Pipe Dream"

“Pipe Dream,” winner of National Geographic’s “Show Us Your Genius” contest.

Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe have found a new way to showcase their musical genius, by selecting the winners of the “Show Us Your Musical Genius” challenge. The contest, presented by NatGeo, Fox 21, Milan Records and hosted by indi.com, had participatants submit their own interpretations of Zimmer and Balfe’s Emmy-nominated main title theme for the NatGeo TV series Genius. The winner is “Pipe Dream,” created by Sweden’s Henrik Lindström and Normann Bjorvand.

The challenge ran for 17 days and received over 1,000 musical entries from all over the world for a unique online challenge.  Top prize winners of the musical challenge are invited to a Hans Zimmer or Lorne Balfe recording session in London or Los Angeles. All entries and the winners can be viewed here.

The panel who judged the finalists included music editor John Finkley (Ocean’s Eight, The Big Short, Rogue One), music supervisor Liz Gallacher (Snatch, Masters of Sex, Elysuim, Resident Evil),  drummer Satnam Ramgotra (Inception, The Dark Night Rises, Dunkirk) and cellist Tina Guo (Wonder Woman, X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead men Tell No Tales), leaving it to composers Zimmer and Balfe to choose the winner.

Both Zimmer and Balfe were pleased with the level of talent the competition attracted. “It’s been amazing to hear everyone’s interpretations of the Genius theme. Each entry, was in its own way unique,” Zimmer said. Once submitted on Indi.com, participants were incentivized to share to social media their nominated videos by linking directly from the indi.com site, which was tracking the shares to create an “indi buzz” index that also earned prizes. The Buzz winner is “What is Time” by Nick Nußbickel of Germany.

The Judges’ Pick and the Buzz Winner get their entries showcased on the social media pages of Zimmer, Balfe and Milan Records. Both winners are also invited to attend a recording session with Zimmer and Balfe in Los Angeles or London (though they must pay their own expenses). 

“The new talent we’ve discovered through this challenge is extraordinary. We can’t wait to do more,” Indi.com’s  Nicole Greenwood said. “The range of interpretation of the theme varied from tango to rock, heavy metal and baroque. Some even included fantastic visuals. The bar was  high. This was a very tough challenge to judge.”

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