Naxos was founded in 1987 by Klaus Heymann, a German-born entrepreneur based in Hong Kong. Under his continuing stewardship, Naxos has developed from being known primarily as a budget label focusing on standard repertoire into a virtual encyclopaedia of classical music with a catalogue of unparalleled depth and breadth. Innovative strategies for recording exciting new repertoire with exceptional talent have enabled the Naxos label to develop one of the largest and fastest-growing catalogues of unduplicated repertoire. Some 9,000 titles are currently available at affordable prices, recorded in state-of-the-art sound, both in hard format and on digital platforms. Naxos works with artists of the highest calibre and its recordings have been recognised with numerous Grammy® awards, Penguin Guide 3-star recommendations, Gramophone Editor’s Choice Awards and many other international honours.
Naxos CDs today continue to retail at a cost similar to their original introductory prices. Costs are kept to a minimum by focusing on the music rather than the artist; money is not wasted on expensive artist promotions, and profits are invested into recordings of new music rather than multiple versions of standard repertoire already in the catalogue. Naxos recordings include complete cycles or cycles-in-progress of basic repertoire such as the complete piano works of Liszt or the complete string quartets of Haydn, but the label has also ventured into rarities and contemporary works, including recordings of repertoire by Joachim Raff, William Henry Fry, and Krzysztof Penderecki. The label also has numerous world premičre recordings to its credit.
Naxos is active in the DVD business and now distributes Arthaus and BBC/Opus Arte DVDs world-wide in most major markets, and the company also has begun releasing recordings in the DVD Blu-ray format.
With its suite of subscription streaming platforms, Naxos continues as a leader and innovator, particularly in the area of education. NaxosMusicLibrary.com, launched in 2002, is used by thousands of educational institutions around the world. With over 120,000 albums from hundreds of labels and more than 1,000 albums being added every month, it has become the listening source of choice for generations of students as they explore classical music. Together with the Naxos Video, Jazz, World Music and Spoken Word libraries, its online resources have had a great impact in developing future audiences for these genres. Launched in 2015, another Naxos first is its high-definition and lossless streaming site, ClassicsOnline HD•LL, which features adaptable bit-rate streaming.
The Naxos label also has gained stature by pioneering groundbreaking projects like the American Classics series. Currently numbering about 200 titles, the series is set to be the most comprehensive recording project of American concert music ever attempted. Naxos is also leading the field with the landmark Naxos Historical Series. The releases in this massive restoration project are engineered by leading restoration engineers/artists. The series covers all genres of classical music as well as legends of jazz and pop music from the first half of the 20th century. Other notable Naxos series include Japanese Classics, Spanish Classics, Early Music, Organ Encyclopaedia, the Guitar Collection, and Opera Classics. The catalogue of Naxos World, a pioneering world music label, includes international music of many different cultures and genres, folk, pop and classical alike.
All this, together with the development of a range of apps and ebooks, demonstrates the Naxos commitment to providing the best possible access to recorded classical music in the world.