German composer Max Richter, whose ambient, post-minimalist style has made him popular with directors as from Michael Scorsese to Michael Bay, is the first artist to sign a long-term, global publishing deal with Universal Music’s newly launched Decca Publishing.
Richter has been the composer of record on HBO’s “The Leftovers,” now in season three, and excerpts from his 10-hour album “On the Nature of Daylight” can be heard in Scorsese’s 2010 film” Shutter Island” and 2016’s “Arrival” (which its integral use to bookend the narrative resulted in Oscar disqualification for Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score).
Richter’s music was also a standout among Super Bowl 51 syncs, providing the evocative backing track to Paramount’s promo for this summer’s “Transformers: The Last Knight.” For all that, Richter is still a relative unknown in mainstream entertainment circles, something Universal and Decca plan to change.
“Max Richter is one of the most important composers working today and we are looking forward to bringing his remarkable music to a wider audience with this ambitious new collaboration,” Universal Music UK chairman and CEO David Joseph said in announcing the agreement.
For his part, Richter “liked the idea of being the first signing to Decca Music Publishing, as we agreed to take a fresh outlook on how we approach music publishing together, at a time when the rules are changing as to how music can engage with the multidimensional creative landscape of today.”
Richter’s nuanced, tonal work is also heard on Ari Folman’s 2008 Oscar-nominated animation film “Waltz with Bashir,” the Netflix series “Black Mirror,” and the FX series “Taboo,” produced by the BBC.
Richter has also composed for theater, including Alan Cumming’s critically acclaimed solo version of “Macbeth” on Broadway, art collaborations with photographer Darren Almond at the White Cube, and multiple ballet projects with resident Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor.
“It’s an exciting time for neo-classical music, and I feel privileged to be working at the forefront of this movement with such a visionary composer as Max,” said Decca Publishing chief Natasha Baldwin, who will be coordinating closely with Universal Music UK and Universal Music Publishing Classical on appropriate projects.
Richter has already released product through Universal Music’s Deutsche Grammophon label – most recently, his groundbreaking 8½-hour-long “SLEEP” album, which has sold over 100,000 copies, and the well-received “Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works,” based on McGregor’s impressionistic dance take on a trio of Virginia Woolf novels.
In addition to sync licensing, the new Decca Publishing will enhance Universal Music UK’s other recent soundtrack composer initiatives, such as Globe Soundtrack and Score, a label services offering for filmmakers and composers launched in conjunction with Abbey Road Studios.
Hailed as an electro-acoustic polymath, Richter graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with renowned Italian experimentalist Luciano Berio. Richter’s work blends formal classical training with modern technology.
He will be performing “Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works” live for the first time as part of the Nocturne concert series at Blenheim Palace in England, outside Oxford, on June 16, and plans to give more performances of “SLEEP” later this year.
Richter is represented by the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency’s Andrew Zack.