Max Richter
Public world premiere



Past Dates

German born Max Richter is one of Britain’s leading contemporary composers and has written one of the longest single pieces of classical music in history. The landmark work SLEEP, scored for piano, strings, electronics and vocals, is eight hours long and is intended to explore the experience of music whilst in a sleeping state. “Sleeping is one of the most important things we all do. We spend a third of our lives asleep,” says composer Max Richter. “SLEEP is my personal lullaby for a frenetic world. A manifesto for a slower pace of existence.” He consulted American neuroscientist David Eagleman while composing, to learn more about how the human brain functions while sleeping. “For me, SLEEP is an attempt to see how that space when your conscious mind is on holiday can be a place for music to live.”

MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues commits itself to exploring the phenomenon of time in its socio-political, philosophical and artistic dimensions. SLEEP is one of today's most important time-related musical works. On the night from 15 March to 16 March, SLEEP will receive its public world premiere at Kraftwerk Berlin. The performance will be realised by Max Richter (piano and electronics), The Max Richter Ensemble and soprano Grace Davidson. The audience will be provided with beds on level 8 of Kraftwerk Berlin. The sleeping places can be arranged individually with personal covers, sleeping bags and pillows brought by the audience.

Max Richter’s music is influenced equally by post-rock, classical music and the electronic avant-garde. He has composed and released five solo albums and “recomposed” Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” for a best-selling album in 2012. Coinciding as it does with the renewed interest in durational works within the fine art community, Richter says: “This isn’t something new in music, it goes back to Cage, Terry Riley, and LaMonte Young, and it’s coming around again partly as a reaction to our speeded-up lives – we are all in need of a pause button.” Richter adds, “I’m perpetually curious about performance conventions in classical music, our rigid rules that dictate how and what music we can appreciate. Somehow in Europe over the last century, as complexity and inaccessibility in music became equated with intelligence and the avant-garde, we lost something along the way. Modernism gave us so many stunning works but we also lost our lullabies. We lost a shared communion in sound. Audiences have dwindled. All my pieces over the last few years have been exploring this, as does SLEEP. It’s a very deliberate political statement for me.”

Max Richter
The Max Richter Ensemble
Natalia Bonner, violin 1
Ian Humphries, violin 2
Nick Barr, viola
Chris Worsley, cello 1
Ian Burdge, cello 2
Grace Davidson soprano
Yulia Mahr executive producer
Chris Ekers sound engineer

Beds will be allocated upon arrival.
Please bring your own sleeping bag.
Bringing of food and beverages is not allowed.
Photography, audio and video recording are not allowed.

By entering the venue all members of the audience, visitors of the event of the KBB consent to the filming and sound recording of themselves as members of the audience as well as to the broadcasting and publishing of these recordings without compensation.

Public world premiere presented by Berliner Festspiele / MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues in collaboration with Deutsche Grammophon, Berlin Atonal and Kraftwerk Berlin.

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Don’t miss The Long Now at Kraftwerk Berlin