Max Richter (born 22 March 1966), is a German-born British composer who has spearheaded a renewed interest in neo-classical (post-minimalist music) composition and the convergence of contemporary classical and alternative popular musical styles since the early 2000s. Richter is classically trained, having graduated in composition from the Royal Academy of Music and studied with Luciano Berio in Italy, but he is influenced equally by punk and popular forms of electronic music.
Richter is known for his prolific output, composing and recording his own music; writing for stage, opera, ballet and screen; producing and collaborating on the records of others; and collaborating with performance, installation and media artists. He has recorded at least five solo albums and his music is widely used in cinema.
In 2002, Richter released his solo debut Memoryhouse, an experimental album of "documentary music" recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, which explores real and imaginary stories and histories. It combines ambient sounds, voices, and poetry readings and includes the tracks "Sarajevo", "November" and "Last Days". BBC Music described the album as "a masterpiece in neoclassical composition." Memoryhouse was first played live by Richter at the Barbican Centre on 24 January 2014 to coincide with a vinyl re-release of the album. Pitchfork gave the re-release an 8.7 rating, commenting on its extensive influence "In 2002, Richter’s ability to weave subtle electronics against the grand BBC Philharmonic Orchestra helped suggest new possibilities and locate fresh audiences that composers such asNico Muhly and Michał Jacaszek have since pursued. As you listen to new work by Julianna Barwick or Jóhann Jóhannson, thank Richter; just as Sigur Rós did with its widescreen rock, Richter showed that crossover wasn't necessarily an artistic curse".
On his second album The Blue Notebooks, released in 2004, actress Tilda Swinton reads from Kafka's Blue Octavo and other shadow journals. Pitchfork described the album as "Not only the finest record of the last six months, but one of the most affecting and universal contemporary classical records in recent memory." To mark the 10th anniversary of its release, Richter created a track by track commentary for Drowned in Sound, in which he described the album as a series of interconnected dreams and an exploration of the chasm between lived experience and imagination.
Richter released his fourth solo album 24 Postcards in Full Colour, a collection of 24 classically-composed miniatures for ringtones, in 2008. The pieces are a series of variations on the basic material, scored for strings, piano, and electronics.
Richter's 2010 album, Infra, is an extension of his 25-minute score for a ballet choreographed by Wayne McGregor and staged at the Royal Opera House. Infra is composed of music written for piano, electronics and string quintet, the full performance score, as well as material that subsequently developed from the construction of the album. Pitchfork described the album as "achingly gorgeous" and The Independent newspaper characterised Infra as "a journey in 13 episodes, emerging from a blur of static and finding its way in a repeated phrase that grows in loveliness."
Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (2012)Edit
Richter has composed numerous film soundtracks. He executed the score to Ari Folman's Golden Globe-winning film Waltz with Bashir in 2007, supplanting the standard orchestral soundtrack with synth-based sounds. Max Richter also composed music for the independent feature film Henry May Long, starring Randy Sharpand Brian Barnhart, in 2008. Richter wrote the music for Feo Aladag's film Die Fremde (with additional music by Stéphane Moucha).
In 2010 Dinah Washington's This Bitter Earth was remixed with Richter's On the Nature of Daylight for the Martin Scorsese film Shutter Island. In July 2010, On the Nature of Daylight and Vladimir's Blues featured throughout the BBC Two two-part drama Dive, which was co-written by BAFTA-winning Dominic Savage and Simon Stevens. On the Nature of Daylight was also featured in an episode of HBO's television series Luck. Four tracks—"Europe, After the Rain", "The Twins (Prague)", "Fragment", and "Embers"—were used in the six-part 2005 BBC documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution produced by Laurence Rees. Richter also wrote the soundtrack to Peter Richardson's documentary, How to Die in Oregon, and the score to Impardonnables (2011) directed by André Téchiné.
Richter is also the composer of the original soundtrack for the HBO series The Leftovers created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, which was premiered in June 2014. Some of the compositions are included in the album The Blue Notebooks.
Richter wrote the score to Infra as part of a Royal Ballet-commissioned collaboration with dancer Wayne McGregor and artist Julian Opie. The production was staged at the Royal Opera House in London in 2008. In 2011, Richter composed a chamber opera based on neuroscientistDavid Eagleman's book Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives. The opera was choreographed by Wayne McGregor and premiered at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre in 2012. The piece received positive reviews, with London's Evening Standard saying "[it] fits together rather beautifully". Their collaboration continued in April 2014 with Wayne McGregor's 'Kairos'; a ballet set to Richter's recomposition of the Four Seasons and part of a collaborative program involving three different choreographers titled 'Notations' with Ballett Zürich. In April 2014 it was also announced that Richter and McGregor will collaborate again together on a new full-length ballet for summer 2015, as part of the 2014–15 Royal Opera House season. In 2012/13, Richter contributed music to The National Theatre of Scotland's production of Macbeth, starring Alan Cumming. The play opened at New York's Lincoln Centre and subsequently moved to Broadway. The company had previously used Richter's 'Last Days' in their acclaimed production of Black Watch.
In 2010, Richter's soundscape The Anthropocine formed part of Darren Almond's film installation at the White Cube gallery in London. The composer has also collaborated with digital art collective Random International on two projects, contributing scores to the installations Future Self (2012), staged at the MADE space in Berlin, and Rain Room (2012/13) at London's Barbican Centre and MOMA, New York.