Martin Tillman, cellist/composer

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?

My dad and mom, David and Regina. They ran a music camp every summer on a beautiful mountain top in Switzerland. There was music in the whole house. I always loved music, and there I recognized the cello as a cool instrument. I suppose when I was about 3 I started tinkering on various instruments and later on it became clear that I liked to “create” music. Then later when I moved to Los Angeles in 1988, it was the current bands of the time like TOTO

Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

Hans Zimmer, definitely. Working with him over 20 years was a great education and very inspiring. Then having had the chance to perform live with Elton John, Sting, BB King inspired me as well to open myself up stylistically – and bands from the 80s

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

Not having become a rock guitarist; otherwise none.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?

To work within a framework. Mostly now I write my own music however

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?

Oh. I could go on and on about having met BB King! I would say beyond their fabulous musicianship, it’s the person and the energy they own. So very inspiring. Also the Hollywood Film Orchestra where I was a member for many years in the 90s was great fun. A totally different challenge.

Of which works are you most proud?

Superhuman, my latest CD, Year in Zurich, Dark Knight, Afterglow, Pirates of the Caribbean, Black Hawk Down…

How would you characterise your compositional language?

Acoustic-electric-minimalist pop classical and lyrical

How do you work?

I work every day. I am currently preparing my Superhuman Live Show.., so lots of practicing of the cello and keyboard, doing the last fine tunings of the arrangements with my MD William Malpede.


it depends on what project I am working.  My working hours writing music tend to be from 6 am-11 am, then it’s fitness time and going out with friends

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

So many- too many to mention, but Sting, U2, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Sinatra, Ravel, Debussy, Morricone, Brahms, Steve Reich, to name but a few

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Getting up in the morning and just doing what I love doing: music, composing what I feel inspired to write, being free to do what I want at any time.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Find your own voice on your instrument and in your compositions. Work hard on it. Don’t give up!!

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

In love with life

What is your most treasured possession?

Apart from my family and friends, my cellos.

What do you enjoy doing most?

Biking in the hills, swimming in the lake and performing live – it’s addictive .

What is your present state of mind?

Curious. Seriously happy

Acclaimed Swiss cellist, EMMY-nominated composer and long-time Hans Zimmer collaborator, Martin Tillman, marks Valentine’s Day 2020 with the international release of his brand-new single ‘Until We Meet Again’, dedicated to the memory of his beloved wife, Ava, who passed away in April 2019 of multiple sclerosis.

Inspired by the love his life and his feeling of helplessness in the face of her terminal illness, Martin Tillman sought solace in music, where he felt more able to express the true depth of his emotions. This poignant and moving music is his personal tribute to the remarkable resilience and strength of the woman who had captured his heart.


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