‘All of these best-selling titles come from the first 10 years of the label and feature our most successful artists. This compilation is a tribute to all the artists who made the success of Naxos possible in the early days of the label.’ – Klaus Heymann
Also available: The Story of Naxos: The Soundtrack
Sydney on the verge of another Spring: as the setting sun shot the harbour with sparkling silver highlights, the skyscrapers burst into light, and throngs of workers headed for home (or the nearest pub), Select Audio-Visual Distribution’s Naxos 25th Anniversary Celebration swung into gear atop the newly refurbished Museum of Contemporary Art, facing the sails of the iconic Sydney Opera House across Circular Quay.
Industry and media representatives, local artists, Australian retailers and other VIP guests welcomed guests of honour Klaus Heymann and Takako Nishizaki with glasses of champagne (tinged a tasteful Naxos Blue for the occasion) and many congratulations for their extraordinary dedication over a quarter of a century to make Naxos the world’s leading classical music label and digital music provider.
Select’s MD Andrew McKeich opened the formal proceedings and invited Klaus to address the guests before eminent Australian musician (and now vigneron) Nathan Waks reminisced about Naxos’s amazing achievement and promising future. Young guitarist Zane Banks played live an excerpt from George Lentz’s Ingwe, an incredible hour-long tour-de-force for solo electric guitar to a stunned audience. Select invited Zane in order to make a statement about ‘classical’ music: Mozart string quartets are indeed fine background music, but we wanted – and received – strikingly contemporary music for this special night.
And as the night ended and fond farewells were made, it was clear that the 25 years of company history to date were merely the beginning. While the classical music world embraces the digital music revolution, Naxos has already positioned itself as a world leader in the new technological realm just as, 25 years ago, it took the classical music industry quietly by storm and revolutionised the physical trade. Naxos, too, is on the verge of another Spring.
The French celebration of the 25th Naxos anniversary commenced with the participation at MUSICORA, a classical music exhibition just re-launched and held at the prestigious Palais Brongniart in the heart of Paris.
Naxos displayed an impressive offering of 7,000 titles for the public, including products of labels distributed by Naxos and Abeille Musique , an offer that far outnumbered those of the competitors participating at the same event. This indicator proved that Naxos and Abeille Musique are key players in the distribution of independent labels in France.
Following the exhibition, founder and chairman of the Naxos Group, Klaus Heymann, gave a key-note speech. It was a lively affair joined by local journalists, musicians, composers, and Naxos enthusiasts. The speech was followed by a ‘meet and greet’ and interviews with France Musique, Le Figaro, Le Nouvel Observateur, Classiquenews.com, Resmusica.com, Diapason, Classica, Pianiste, Jejouedupiano.com, and Qobuz, and others.
The 25th anniversary celebration in Paris culminated in an evening party held at Hôtel Dosne-Thiers. Conductor Jun Märkl was the guest of honour, having recently completed his cycle of Debussy’s orchestral music with the Lyon National Orchestra for Naxos. Also present was Jean-Claude Casadesus, the chief conductor of the Lille National Orchestra, who has a long and successful recording collaboration with Naxos. Klaus Heymann shared the story of Naxos and his vision on the future of the classical recording industry, followed by a speech from Yves Riesel, president of Abeille Musique.
It was a joyous occasion celebrated in a friendly and celebratory atmosphere!
The Japan leg of the Naxos 25th anniversary celebrations took place in Tokyo from 24-26 October, 2012, comprising a happy mix of formal occasions and more relaxed events.
OTTAVA, the capital’s classical music internet radio station, featured an interview with Klaus Heymann during a two-hour special in which the company’s achievements were duly documented. Listeners gave The Essence of Naxos such a favourable reception that highlights were subsequently re-broadcast and then archived by the station. The interview can be heard on the Naxos Japan web-page.
Day 2 kicked off with a lively press conference at which reporters from around sixty journals and magazines fired off questions to Mr Heymann in response to his summary of the Naxos history and business strategy: future developments in digital distribution and high-resolution software were popular topics. The event culminated in a lively lunch party for the media and business representatives in attendance.
The evening’s festivities were organised on a more intimate scale, in a party restricted to Naxos Japan employees and designed to extend not only hospitality to Mr Heymann and his family but also sincere appreciation for all their endeavours.
The Senzoku Gakuen College of Music was the location for the final day’s events. The country’s leading music college presented Mr Heymann with a special award in recognition of his significant contribution to the world of music. Students hung on every word of his speech that followed; let’s hope they will become confirmed Naxos fans in the near future.
Naxos Japan employees were grateful both for the opportunity to meet Mr Heymann in person and for the positive motivation the occasion left in its wake.
[Ryoichi Shirayanagi, Naxos Japan]
Not only is September the beginning of the 4th quarter and the time when our biggest releases of the year need to be promoted, but it was also Naxos of America’s turn to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Naxos with Klaus, Takako, and Rick. A grand tour of North America was in order and was filled with meetings, interviews, and congratulatory events.
The first took place in Los Angeles, and although the first night’s sleep in California was interrupted by an earthquake, a spectacular time was had at the CB1 Art Gallery. Artist Jaime Scholnick’s works were displayed in the gallery, including one ‘Naxos blue’ piece which stood directly in the entrance. Klaus, Takao and Rick welcomed guests and Jim Selby joined Klaus for a speech and toast later in the evening.
Next, the festivities moved to Nashville, home of Naxos of America. While in Middle Tennessee, Klaus enjoyed a luncheon at the NoA offices to which all employees were invited. That evening, Takako presented a masterclass at the WO Smith Music School. Students, parents, and other Suzuki method teachers were on hand to learn from her.
The Nashville celebration took place at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. In attendance were dozens of Naxos employees, press, Nashville Symphony staff, and even the mayor of Nashville, Karl Dean. Afterwards, Klaus, Takako, and Rick enjoyed the opening performance of the GRAMMY® winning Nashville Symphony’s 2012–2013 season with Mahler Symphony No 8 ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero. Klaus’ time in Nashville was concluded by a day of internal meetings at the NoA offices in Franklin, Tennessee. After some meetings and a press meet-and-greet in Washington DC, the celebration journeyed to New York City. There Klaus welcomed hundreds of guests to Steinway Hall including artists, composers, retailers, and business associates. Naxos artist and pianist Philip Edward Fisher performed pieces of Sibelius, Chopin, Hickey, and Rimsky-Korsakov/Rachmaninov.
Klaus and Takako also signed many copies of The Story of Naxos at the Juilliard Bookstore while in NYC.
The Baltimore Symphony invited Naxos to be a part of its season-opening event in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the label. The BSO and conductor Marin Alsop performed a gala concert with soprano Reneé Fleming including pieces like ‘O mio babbino caro’ from Gianni Schicchi, ‘Vissi d’arte, vissi d'amore’ from Tosca and Dvořák’s ‘Song to the Moon’ from Rusalka, as well as selections by the great musical theater composer/lyricist team Rodgers & Hammerstein. This was followed by a gala reception.
The last stop on the North American 25th anniversary voyage was Toronto. Klaus and Takako did a book signing at L’Atelier Grigorian. An anniversary event was held at the beautiful Massey College and was hosted by Elora Festival Singers artistic director Noel Edison.
In two and a half weeks, Klaus, Takako and Rick traveled 3,500 miles on the continent of North America and attended over 50 events, meetings and interviews. It was a pleasure to have them here with us and Naxos of America looks forward to helping to ensure that the company remains for another 25 years and beyond.
On Thursday 10 May, Naxos UK kicked off the 25th anniversary celebrations with a party at the lavish Goldsmiths’ Hall in London. Attended by music critics, Naxos staff, Naxos artists and Klaus Heymann with his wife Takako, the evening was also used to launch the new book The Story of Naxos. The highlight of the evening was, without doubt, the speech given by the great British actor and Naxos artist, Simon Callow. His kind words about the label were followed by a speech from Klaus, finishing with him and Takako cutting the specially designed Naxos cake. Guests were given a personalised bottle of champagne branded with the Naxos logo as they left, rounding off the evening in style!