Classically trained, Max de Wardener studied music at York University then completed post-graduate studies in jazz and studio music at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He has also been a participant on the LSO Discovery Panufnik Young Composers Scheme, and has subsequently been commissioned to create a work for Indian virtuoso violinist Kala Ramnath, tabla player Sanju Sahai and LSO Strings which premiered at LSO St Luke’s, as well as a short variation on the work of Andrzej Panufnik for the LSO which premiered at the Barbican under the baton of François-Xavier Roth.
Other recent works for the concert platform include two large-scale pieces that premiered in 2013: Pithos, a percussion concerto for Colin Currie and Orchestre National de Bordeaux, conducted by Kwame Ryan, and a piano concerto for Will Dutta and the Heritage Orchestra, with sound design conceived by Manuel Poletti (from the world’s leading sound lab, IRCAM), which was performed as part of the Blank Canvas sessions at Village Underground. Max has also been commissioned by virtuosic percussionist Joby Burgess's for a Powerplant project based on the films of Michael Haneke which was supported by the PRS for Music Foundation and by cellist Olly Coates for a work that premiered at the Ether Festival.
Max has a long resume of works for film and TV and his output and continued success in this area includes the BAFTA Award winning feature film Last Resort (Dir: Pawel Pawlikowski, 2000); Edinburgh Film Festival Michael Powell Award winning Gas Attack (Dir: Kenneth Glenaan, 2001); Directors’ Guild of Great Britain (DGGB) Award winner Comfortably Numb (Dir: Leo Regan, 2004); DNA - the Emmy Award winning five-part documentary on the history of DNA for Channel 4/PBS (Dir: David Glover, 2004); Secret Life – the Channel 4 drama starring Matthew Macfadyen (Dir: Rowan Joffe, 2007); The Doctor who Hears Voices (Dir: Leo Regan, 2008); a feature documentary about a unique punk band called Heavy Load (Dir: Jerry Rothwell, 2008), which won the audience award at BritDoc 2008. Most recently Max created a new score to Eisenstein's The Old and the New which was commissioned by the BFI for its Russian film season, completed the original music for Woman in the Fifth (Dir: Pawel Pawlikowski, 2011), starring Ethan Hawke and Kristen Scott Thomas and composed a score with Jonas Colstrop for Sarah Gavron's new documentary Village at the End of the World, which won the Czech Radio Award at the One World Festival 2013 for best sound and music.
Since 2002 Max has been releasing his own music in association with Matthew Herbert’s Accidental label. He released a 12” of church organ music called Stops (2003) and a CD entitled Where I Am Today (2004), which allowed him to explore his interest in diverse and contrasting instrumentation using, for example, Harry Partch’s cloud-chamber bowls, transistors and the sound of wires. He has also researched new ways of specifically controlling live amplification, which consequently led to repertoire for the specially formed Max de Wardener Group, who toured this work as a double bill alongside Michael Gordon's (Bang on a Can band) as part of a Contemporary Music Network tour and also performed live in the spectacular setting of the National Portrait Gallery – where Max was one of four composers commissioned to create a new work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the NPG.
Other projects include the creation of repertoire for a new album, a remix for Danish post-pop group Efterklang, an ongoing collaboration with the London-based string ensemble Elysian Quartet, an arrangement of his work Minutia for Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey (released on Weaver of Fictions for ABC Classics), the release of Nuzzle - Mara Carlyle’s album which includes Max’s orchestrations for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Classist; an EP featuring new works for string quartet released on Stanley Donwood’s (Radiohead) Six Inch Records; Ousia, a site-specific event with Herald Angel winner Darren Johnston (Ren-sa) and Flat-e; arrangements for piano and electronics for Will Dutta’s 2012 album; arrangements for Plaid on a new acoustic version of their score for cult manga film Tekkonkinkreet which was performed at the Sydney Opera House and arrangements for Matthew Herbert's One Day Concert at the RFH for the London Sinfonietta.