Vangelis

From hedge fund manager to Oscar nominee: Meet Nicholas Britell, the composer of 'Moonlight'

From hedge fund manager to Oscar nominee: Meet Nicholas Britell, the composer of 'Moonlight'

Nicholas Britell has entered the Hollywood spotlight with his music for “Moonlight,” the spare and delicate but nevertheless integral score earning the film one of its eight Oscar nominations.

Yet for Britell, 36, this is merely Phase 4 of a career that began as a Juilliard (and later Harvard) student, shifted to hip-hop musician and later morphed into hedge fund manager. The inexplicable range of that résumé can be confounding until one realizes that behind his almost blindingly sunny persona lies a mind that is a deep, expansive well.

“It’s one of the things that he brings to film composing,” said Natalie Portman, who hired Britell to score her 2015...

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