Zimmermann was born on May 18, 1906 in New York City. He studied the double bass with Herman Reinshagen, principal bass of the New York Philharmonic under Gustav Mahler and Arturo Toscanini. He made numerous transcriptions of music ranging from the 14th to 20th century and edited music for International. In 1966 his book, Contemporary Concept of Bowing Technique for the Double Bass was published. In addition to music, Zimmermann studied painting with George Grosz at the Art Students' League, had three showings, and often lectured on modern German painters. Zimmermann married his wife Dorothy in 1931. They had one son Edwin. Zimmermann died of a brain tumor at age 61 on August 3, 1967, while visiting Ohlstadt, Germany.