Classical label Decca relaunches, eyes future stars

Mon Feb 7, 2011 7:22pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - The classical music label Decca on Monday celebrated its relaunch as Decca Classics, promising to seek out new stars and ensure that the genre remains relevant to younger listeners.

Part of the Universal Music Group, Decca Classics is already home to a roster of renowned performers including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Cecilia Bartoli, Renee Fleming, Juan Diego Florez, Jonas Kaufmann and Mitsuko Uchida.

It also boasts a catalog including singers Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland and conductor Georg Solti.

"We've always done classical music, but for the first time in 30 years we've brought all sides of Decca under one roof," said managing director Paul Moseley, who will head up Decca Classics' search for fresh talent.

"It's kind of a reaffirmation of our commitment to classical music, a bit like renewing your wedding vows," he told Reuters ahead of a lunch in London formally marking the relaunch.

Recent Decca signings include U.S. cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, as well as Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim.

Kurzak performed at the Decca event, as did German violinist Julia Fischer, Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja and Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov.

Moseley said that unlike the world of rock or pop, rampant piracy was not the biggest problem facing the classical music business. Digital purchases account for less than 20 percent of the sector's sales, with the generally older audience preferring to own physical CDs.

Decca Classics' biggest challenge, he added, was to identify artists who would appeal to all ages.   Continued...

<p>Legendary Tenor Luciano Pavarotti signed copies of "Ti Adoro," his CD released by Decca Records on October 2, 2003, at Tower Records in New York. REUTERS/Ken Katz</p>