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  • Music
  • Issue 38

Max Richter

Meet the classical composer whose unornamented arrangements fill arenas.
Words by Tom Faber. Photograph by © Rahi Rezvani, 2017.

For someone whose music has such a subtle, delicate fingerprint, Max Richter has had a seismic influence over the past decade in music. His signature sound rejects classical music’s convoluted flourishes, focusing instead on emotive, accessible string and piano figures interwoven with electronic sounds. He influenced a whole school of composers, including Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Jóhann Jóhannsson, to perform contemplative music to arena-sized crowds.

While he continues to refine his musical style, the German-born British composer, 54, ceaselessly seeks to meet his listeners in new spaces. He has composed for ballet, television (Black Mirror) and film (Ad Astra, Arrival, Waltz with Bashir). His ambitious 2015 project Sleep was an 8½-hour piece performed to audiences sleeping in museums. These formal experiments are underpinned by intellectual inquiries, like his new album, Voices, which incorporates readings from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Eight

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