World-Renowned Conductor-Pianist Signs Major Recording Agreement

BERLIN, November 2, 2010 – Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics are delighted to announce the signing of a wide-ranging recording agreement with conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim. Music director of Berlin’s Staatsoper and Staatskapelle and Maestro Scaligero at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala – with projects including a new Ring production at both houses – Barenboim has been called by The Times (London) “one of the few musicians in the world today who could accurately be described as legendary”.

Among the many important releases in extensive plans stretching beyond 2012 – when the artist celebrates his 70th birthday – are Barenboim’s first-ever recordings of the Chopin and Liszt piano concertos, a new Beethoven symphony cycle with his inspiring West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and a new Bruckner recording with the Staatskapelle, as well as several solo piano recordings. Many of these recordings are co-produced by Daniel Barenboim’s long-term partner UNITEL.

The first releases on Deutsche Grammophon – early in 2011, to mark the 60th (!) anniversary of Barenboim’s performing debut – will be devoted to Chopin: a solo recital recorded in Warsaw as well as the two concertos with Barenboim accompanied by the Berlin Staatskapelle under Andris Nelsons. Later in the year, a new recording with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will appear on Decca Classics to coincide with their annual tour: Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony and Schoenberg’s Variations for Orchestra.

2011 is also the Liszt bicentenary year, and Deutsche Grammophon will release Barenboim’s first recording of the two concertos, with Pierre Boulez conducting the Berlin Staatskapelle, together with solo piano works, some of them debut recordings for Maestro Barenboim.

“I am very happy and grateful to be beginning a strong partnership with these two great recording companies, Deutsche Grammophon and Decca”, says Daniel Barenboim. “I made my very first recording in the 1950s for Philips, so in a way, this marks a homecoming for me. What makes me particularly happy is that this unique collaboration allows me to prioritise my work with the Staatskapelle and the West-Eastern Divan in equal measure. The Staatskapelle has played an extremely important role in the formation of the Divan and in this new partnership with Deutsche Grammophon and Decca, our musical community is represented beautifully. I am looking forward to our future together, and to many exciting recordings.”

Max Hole, Chief Operating Officer, Universal Music Group International, comments: “We are honoured that Daniel Barenboim has decided to make Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics the homes for his new recordings and new projects, to add to his already extraordinary body of work. We fully appreciate and share his vision of the future of classical music, to reinvigorate and strengthen it, and to reach for new audiences. Daniel is one of the world’s most inspiring individuals. There is no better ambassador for music.”

Michael Lang, President, Deutsche Grammophon, and Paul Moseley, General Manager, Decca Classics, will lead their respective labels’ association with Barenboim, preparing initially for the release of the first recordings under the agreement. Deutsche Grammophon renews a collaboration with the artist which previously yielded landmark recordings of solo music by Beethoven, Chopin and Mendelssohn, and of orchestral works by Bruckner, Debussy and Ravel. For Decca Classics, this brand new collaboration with Maestro Barenboim marks an exciting chapter in its programme of expansion as a world-class core classical label.

In addition, Frank Briegmann, President of Universal Music Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Deutsche Grammophon, will play a lead role in shaping the company’s plans with Barenboim – not least because of the musician’s pivotal links with Berlin through the Staatsoper and Staatskapelle, and his contributions to its cultural life. Universal Music Germany is headquartered in the capital.

A further component of Daniel Barenboim’s collaboration with the company will be major new business projects to reinvigorate the classical genre, under the direction of Florence Siebert, Vice President, Business Development, Classical, for Universal Music Group International.