Nicholas Britell is an award-winning composer, pianist, and producer. In 2015, Britell wrote the score for Adam McKay’s Oscar-nominated film THE BIG SHORT, based on Michael Lewis’ book about the housing and credit bubbles of the 2000’s and the subsequent 2008 financial crisis. His music also featured prominently in director Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning film 12 YEARS A SLAVE, for which he composed and arranged the on-camera music including the violin performances, spiritual songs, work songs, and dances. He recently scored Gary Ross’ film FREE STATE OF JONES, starring Matthew McConaughey, as well as Barry Jenkins’ upcoming film MOONLIGHT and Adam Leon’s film TRAMPS.
Britell wrote the score for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut feature film A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS which was selected for a special screening at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Britell has also scored Steve McQueen’s film CARIBS’ LEAP which has recently been featured as part of the “Master of Light – Robby Müller” retrospective at the Eye film museum in Amsterdam. Britell also wrote the score for the film GIMME THE LOOT (directed by Adam Leon), which won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW in March 2012 and was an Official Selection for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard). In addition, Britell has scored Jack Pettibone Riccobono’s documentary THE SEVENTH FIRE which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015. He was awarded the Henry Mancini Fellowship from the ASCAP Foundation in December 2012 and also won the ASCAP/Doddle Award for Collaborative Achievement. Britell is a Founding Member of L.A. Dance Project and is a Board member of the New York-based ensemble Decoda, the first-ever affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall.
As a producer, Britell produced the short film WHIPLASH, directed by Damien Chazelle, which won the Jury Award for Best US Fiction Short at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. After the initial success of the WHIPLASH short, he subsequently served as co-producer on the Oscar-nominated feature film WHIPLASH which also won Sundance’s 2014 Jury Prize and its Audience Award. Britell has produced numerous other projects with The Amoveo Company, a multimedia production company and artists’ collective that he co-founded with Benjamin Millepied. Among their projects, Amoveo collaborated with director Alejandro Iñárritu to produce his short film NARAN JA; other projects include ballet and film commissions from Van Cleef & Arpels, production on the 30th Anniversary of Canal + live show broadcast, and brand partnerships with Feit shoes and Maiyet.
As a pianist, for the past five years, he has been performing as part of the critically-acclaimed “Portals” project with violin virtuoso Tim Fain. Britell has been performing for audiences from a very young age, giving his first public recital at the age of 10 in Manhattan. A student of the late Jane Carlson at the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, he has performed at venues including the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Juilliard, Steinway Hall, the Palace Theater, Kaneko, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum of Art and Signet Society, the Aspen Music Festival, and the National Arts Club. He has also performed Mozart’s Piano Concerti Nos. 12 and 14 at the landmark Old Westbury Gardens with an orchestra led by Eric Jacobsen, noted conductor of The Knights.
In addition, Britell was the keyboardist in the hip-hop ensemble The Witness Protection Program. The WPP, as they were known, opened acts for hip-hop groups including Blackalicious and Jurassic 5 and performed at venues ranging from the Paradise Theater in Boston to New York’s classic Arlene’s Grocery.
Britell is an honors and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University, as well as a piano performance graduate of the Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division. Britell was honored to be the commencement speaker at the Juilliard Pre-College Division’s Commencement Exercises in May 2016.