Max Richter (born 22 March 1966) is a German-born British composer who has been an influential voice in post-minimalist composition and in the meeting 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.
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 seven solo albums and his music is widely used in cinema.
Richter was born in Hamelin, Lower Saxony, Germany. He grew up in Bedford, United Kingdom, and his education was at Bedford Modern School and Mander College of Further Education. He studied composition and piano at the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Academy of Music, and with Luciano Berio in Florence. After finishing his studies, Richter co-founded the contemporary classical ensemble Piano Circus.] He stayed with the group for ten years, commissioning and performing works by minimalist musicians such as Arvo Pärt, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, and Steve Reich. The ensemble was signed to Decca/Argo, producing five albums.
In 1996, Richter collaborated with Future Sound of London on their album Dead Cities, beginning as a pianist, but ultimately working on several tracks, as well as co-writing one track (titled Max). Richter worked with the band for two years, also contributing to the albums The Isness and The Peppermint Tree and Seeds of Superconsciousness. In 2000, Richter worked with Mercury Prize winner Roni Size on the Reprazent album In the Møde. Richter produced Vashti Bunyan's 2005 album Lookaftering and Kelli Ali's 2008 album Rocking Horse.
Max Richter has created numerous film and television soundtracks over the years. He composed the score to Ari Folman's Golden Globe-winning film Waltz with Bashir in 2007 supplanting the standard orchestral soundtrack with synth-based sounds and winning him the European Film Award for Best Composer. He also scored the independent feature film Henry May Long, starring Randy Sharp and Brian Barnhart, in 2008 and 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.
An excerpt of the song Sarajevo from his 2002 album Memoryhouse was used in the international trailer for the Ridley Scott film Prometheus. The track, November, from the same album, was featured in the international trailer for Terrence Malick's 2012 film, To the Wonder, and in the trailer for Clint Eastwood's 2011 film, J. Edgar. Films featuring Richter's music released in 2011 include French drama Elle s'appelait Sarah by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, and David MacKenzie's romantic thriller Perfect Sense. In 2012 he composed the scores for Cate Shortland's 2012 Australian-German war thriller Lore and Disconnect, directed by Henry Alex Rubin. Richter latest project is the score to Ari Folman's new film The Congress, which was released in 2013.
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 albums Memoryhouse and The Blue Notebooks.
In 2016, Richter composed the score to Nosedive, an episode of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror. His piece On the Nature of Daylight opens and closes Denis Villeneuve's film Arrival. He wrote the score to Luke Scott's debut feature Morgan, and the score to Miss Sloane. He composed all the music in BBC One's drama Taboo which was broadcast in January and February 2017.
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 neuroscientist David 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 " 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 Anthropocene 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.