Klaus Heymann, founder and Chairman of the Naxos Music Group, has been awarded the medal of Commander of the Order of Rio Branco by the Brazilian government for his contribution to Brazil’s classical music heritage through the award-winning ‘Music of Brazil’ series on Naxos.
‘When I was young, Brazil was the land of my dreams, and I was planning to emigrate and live there.’ The idea of living in Brazil did not become reality, but interest in the country remained. ‘Brazilian music has to be heard more in the world. Music publishers who control the works of the major composers have to make a greater effort to get the music performed. And we need more Brazilian musicians at an international level that can help promote the country’s music,’ emphasised Heymann, who embraced the project from the very first moment.
To recognise Mr Heymann’s dedication and efforts to introduce and promote Brazil’s classical music to a global audience, the Consul General of Brazil in Hong Kong and Macau, Ambassador Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Jr conferred the insignia of the Order of Rio Branco on Mr Heymann last week. The Order of Rio Branco distinguishes meritorious service and civic virtues, stimulating the practice of actions and deeds worthy of honourable mention. Notable past recipients include Laurindo Almeida, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Toots Thielemans and Ban Ki-moon. Consul General Lacerda Santos Jr had this to say: ‘On behalf of the Brazilian government and people, I would like to congratulate Mr. Heymann for receiving the Commander of the Order of Rio Branco Award, one of the highest distinctions that Brazil can bestow upon a foreign citizen. We not only celebrate his extraordinary achievements but also express our heartfelt gratitude for his invaluable contributions to the cultural enrichment of our society. This recognition serves as a testament to his unwavering commitment to the arts, his tireless efforts in fostering cultural understanding, and his deep appreciation for Brazil’s classical music heritage. He is an example of how one person can make a difference in the world through his work and his ideals. He is an inspiration for all of us who believe in the power of music to bring people together and to make our world a better place.’ In his acceptance speech, Mr Heymann said, ‘Brazil is a country of 220 million people and most of them are music lovers. It’s a music-loving country, probably more than any other country in the rest of the world. I hope this project will help not only to make the music of Brazil better known in the world, but also to put Brazil on the map as a land of culture and with a big musical background.’
This ambitious project, Brasil em Concerto, developed by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promotes music by Brazilian composers dating back to the 18th century. The series has reached its halfway point of releasing 100 orchestral works from 19th and 20th century Brazilian composers, performed by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a selection of vocal and chamber music featuring Brazilian artists such as Latin GRAMMY-winning pianist Sonia Rubinsky. Most of the works recorded for the series have never had recordings available outside Brazil; many others are and will be world premiere recordings. An important part of the project is the preparation of new or even first editions of the works to be recorded, many of which, despite their relevance, have only been available in the composers’ manuscripts. This work will be carried out by the Brazilian Academy of Music and by musicologists working together with the orchestras.