A Conversation with Klaus Heymann
A passion for music, a flair for marketing and impeccable business sense were just three attributes that Klaus Heymann, the Founder and Chairman of Naxos, used to catapult his upstart budget label to the top of the class in just 15 years. "Our business model is simple," he told the Wall Street Journal in an article that ran in January 2003: "You record things people want to buy. And you produce it, market it, distribute it and sell it, all at a cost that lets you make a profit."
In the early years, the low price, wide-ranging repertoire, and simple packaging of Naxos products defined the "Indie" as a non-threatening alternative to major-label hegemony in the classical field. But as critical acclaim grew and the catalog deepened, the word got out, and even the most seasoned collector began to understand that Naxos was very much about quality - both musical and sonic. Today, Naxos boasts such indispensable offerings as the American Classics series (described as "epochal" by Billboard magazine and "wonderful" by the New York Times), widely acclaimed opera recordings, growing discographies from leading artists such as conductor Marin Alsop (nominated this year for Gramophone's "Artist of the Year" Award) and a seemingly bottomless well of repertoire for the musically adventurous.
Heymann runs Naxos's worldwide operations from its home base in Hong Kong and spends a great deal of "down" time with his wife (and Naxos recording artist) violinist Takako Nishizaki in New Zealand. iClassics spoke with the elegant but unfussy German-born recordings impresario during his recent visit to New York City.
To read the entire interview with Klaus Heymann, visit iclassics.com.