Christoph ZIRNGIBL – composer

“When I make music, I want to create an emotion – not an impression”

Christoph Zirngibl (37) is a German film composer, songwriter and musician who lives in Munich with his family.  He is a 2021 Camille Award Nominee for Finis Terrae, Music & Sound International Awards nominee and has been awarded several times, e.g. the Hollywood Music in Media Award (King Grandpa, 2017), the film music award of the New York Indie Film Festival (King Grandpa, 2018), the Jerry Goldsmith award “best composer” (2007) as well as the Price of the German Television Academy (Amnesie, 2016).

With his father being a multi-instrumentalist, Zirngibl was raised on music from an early age. He studied “Scoring for Film and TV” at the highly acclaimed University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich and earned his Master‘s degree in 2007. After a few weeks as a freshman, his Professor Andreas Weidinger asked him to become his assistant. They shared studio rooms and, since then have collaborated on many projects.

By now Zirngibl has written more than 80 scores for short films, prime time movies, feature films, and TV series of various genres. Some of them were composed in collaboration with other renowned German composers such as Peter Thomas, Helmut Zerlett, and Heiko Maile.

“I was only 13 years old when I decided that I wanted to become a film music composer. It all started when I was watching Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park at the cinema. On the movie screen, these dinosaurs came to life and the power, energy and emotional impact John Williams’ music had on me left me deeply impressed and made me feel like composing film music must be the best job in the world.”

Although Zirngibl has been composing many orchestral scores since the beginning of his career, his musical skills embrace a great diversity of styles: As a performer (drummer, piano player, upright bass player, and vocalist) he has gained a lot of band experience in genres like psychedelic and hard rock, new country, folk, gospel, jazz, big band, and symphonic brass music. „Part of my heart belongs to live music, so I actually do perform on my scores in the majority of cases.”

Zirngibl loves to combine the strengths of band music and orchestral music, so he regularly works with international session musicians like Giacomo Castellano, Luke Cyrus Goetze, Stephan Ebn, or Deryn Cullen and with renowned orchestras such as the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg, the Warsaw Radio Symphony, the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. “Music only really comes alive when being performed by people of flesh and blood. Therefore, despite the great possibilities of technology, I prefer to work with musicians if possible.”

Right now Zirngibl is working on the live-film project “Finis terrae”, which will be performed with orchestra, band, and choir in early 2019. Another current project is scoring a psychological thriller directed by oscar-nominated director Florian Baxmeyer.

True to his motto “When I make music, I want to create an emotion – not an impression”.   Zirngibl’s philosophy is: “The origin of all music is emotion, and its authenticity makes the difference.”

Christoph Zirngibl in conversation with Saskia Rienth    June 2018

10 Minutes with Christoph Zirngibl