Max Richter

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About Max Richter

The British composer Max Richter is a master bridge builder. He updates classical music for contemporary life while forging eye-opening connections between disparate traditions, ideas and media. Born in Hamelin, West Germany in 1966, Richter was raised in Bedford, England and began playing piano as a boy. After studying composition at university, he cofounded Piano Circus, an ensemble performing the work of composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Brian Eno in 1989. In the ‘90s, he established his electronic bona fides alongside The Future Sound of London and Roni Size, but it was his debut solo album, 2002’s Memoryhouse, that first suggested the depth of his ambition, combining ruminative symphonic composition with spoken-word experiments in nonlinear storytelling. Richter’s discography resembles a particularly revelatory box of curios, often incorporating pieces of other artworks: Tilda Swinton recites Kafka on 2004’s The Blue Notebooks and Robert Wyatt reads from Haruki Murakami on 2006’s Songs from Before. On 2012’s Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Richter reinterpreted the Baroque touchstone as loop-based minimalism. He has worked on wildly contrasting scales, writing ringtone-based miniatures on 2008’s 24 Postcards in Full Colour and then scoring 2015’s eight-hour Sleep to accompany a full-night’s shut-eye. Along the way, Richter has lent his expressive touch to a growing body of film and television soundtracks including The Leftovers, Ad Astra and an episode of Black Mirror. The latter is telling: Few other classical composers feel so much like postmodern time travellers.

22 March 1966