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Deutsche Grammophon Celebrates 125 Years

John Williams DG 125
09/05/2023

Birthday concerts from 5 September in Tokyo, Seoul and Philadelphia, and a gala performance in Berlin on 6 December – available for streaming on STAGE+

 John Williams, Andris Nelsons, Joana Mallwitz, Yannick Nézet-Séguin,
Víkingur Ólafsson, María Dueñas, Hélène Grimaud and Moby
are among those taking part

 Online video series and virtual exhibition of legendary DG album covers

 Key reissues and unreleased recordings, including limited fan editions

 For more anniversary content, visit dg−125.com

 

Deutsche Grammophon celebrates the landmark occasion of its 125th anniversary this year, the globally renowned label has planned a wide range of events, releases and other initiatives. New signing Joana Mallwitz will conduct a gala birthday concert in Berlin on 6 December, while more of DG’s international artists, including John Williams and Víkingur Ólafsson, will be taking part in anniversary concerts in Tokyo and Seoul. “The DG Cover Stories” exhibition has been launched on the DG125 website, and there are key reissues and previously unreleased recordings from the Original Source, Lost Tapes and Avantgarde series. Finally, renowned film director Eric Schulz will present a five-part video series about the label’s history, and a range of anniversary-themed merchandise has been specially designed for the DG Store.

From its very beginnings, Deutsche Grammophon has been associated with technical innovation and a desire to explore different ways of bringing classical music to established fans and new listeners alike. It has always embraced state-of-the-art sound engineering techniques and, last year, launched its groundbreaking digital platform STAGE+.

“Deutsche Grammophon has stayed young because of its willingness to develop in new directions and create exciting partnerships, reconciling innovation and tradition in terms of both artistic standards and the latest technology,” says Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “We’re delighted to be marking the anniversary with exciting live events in Asia, America and Europe, and are proud to be a truly global and diverse label today. Our celebration focuses on the next generation of artists and projects that we believe will create the Yellow Label legacy of the future.”

“Deutsche Grammophon is one of the most famous record labels in the world, with one of the richest musical traditions,” notes Frank Briegmann, Chairman & CEO Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon. “Its brand is at least as iconic as the uncompromising standard it sets itself for its work. The DG tradition is passion for the new at the very highest artistic and technological level, which is why so many great musicians around the world place their trust in the label. I congratulate Deutsche Grammophon on its 125th birthday and wish the label, its team and all of its artists continued success and many more inspiring ideas and outstanding recordings for us all to enjoy in the years to come.”

“Our anniversary activities are dedicated to all fans of classical music,” adds Kleopatra Sofroniou, DG’s General Manager Classics. “It’s a great feeling that recordings representing DG’s entire history – from Caruso to María Dueñas – are always available for everyone to listen to. And it’s pure joy to think that concerts streamed from venues all over the world can be enjoyed at the same time by music-lovers everywhere, thanks to STAGE+.”

 

Live Concerts · STAGE+

The DG125 live events begin this month with a concert at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall in which John Williams and Stéphane Denève conduct the Saito Kinen Orchestra in a programme of some of the legendary Hollywood composer’s best-loved film themes (5 September; STAGE+ premiere 9 September). Andris Nelsons then takes up the baton to conduct the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig at the Seoul Arts Center, with Seong-Jin Cho as soloist in the Schumann Piano Concerto (15 November). Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra join the party from Verizon Hall (9 December). As well as performing music by Stravinsky and William Grant Still, they will welcome to the stage María Dueñas (Ravel’s Tzigane & Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo capriccioso), Hélène Grimaud (Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major), and Moby (tracks from Reprise & Resound NYC).

Joana Mallwitz, newly appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, conducts the DG125 birthday concert on 6 December. She and her orchestra will be joined at the Konzerthaus Berlin by five other DG artists who are all part of a new generation of world-class musicians. Brahms’s Academic Festival Overture will open the programme, followed by Beethoven’s Triple Concerto – with Bomsori, Kian Soltani and Rafał Blechacz; Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen – with Andrè Schuen; and Beethoven’s Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt and “Choral Fantasy” – the latter with Bruce Liu.

Lastly, rounding off the anniversary concert series, Víkingur Ólafsson will present Bach’s Goldberg Variations in recital at the Seoul Arts Center (15 December).

For details on how to view the anniversary concerts live or on demand, visit STAGE+.

 

Virtual Exhibition: The DG Cover Stories

DG’s art department has long worked with leading photographers and graphic designers to produce covers that have shaped the image and perception of both classical music and the artists that perform it. Art historian and photo archivist Barbara Lauterbach has chosen a selection of 25 outstanding covers for the exhibition, her accompanying texts shedding new light on the creative process involved in their concept and production. New items will be added to the display on dg−125.com every month until December. Among the images chosen are German theatre photographer Ilse Buhs’ stunning shot of Martha Argerich and Claudio Abbado, taken in 1967. The website provides an insight into what makes this portrait so powerful (here), as well as offering exclusive content about the cover for Rolando Villazón’s cielo e mar album (here) and behind-the-scenes shots from Daniil Trifonov’s Destination Rachmaninov albums (here), among many more examples.

 

Iconic Reissues

The Original Source – June this year saw the launch of The Original Source, a series of celebrated albums reissued on vinyl. Renowned Berlin-based Emil Berliner Studios are remastering 4‑track recordings from the 1970s, using their own cutting-edge and 100% pure analogue techniques to create versions of the highest possible audio quality.

For more information visit the-original-source.com

 

The Lost Tapes – DG announces a new series presenting hidden treasures from the label’s archives. The first of these previously unreleased recordings features the legendary pianist Rudolf Serkin’s final Beethoven recordings and will be issued on 17 November 2023. Further treasures are set to follow, including the digital release of Thomas Quasthoff and Christian Thielemann’s 2006 recording of Lieder by Hugo Wolf with the Münchner Philharmoniker.

 

Avantgarde Series Edition – 55 years ago DG launched Avantgarde, a series that has since acquired cult status. The Avantgarde recordings have now been gathered together for the first time for CD and digital release. The 21-CD edition presents music by such forward-thinking composers as Berio, Cage, Kagel, Ligeti, Lutosławski, Nono, Penderecki, Schnebel and Zimmermann.

 

Video Series

Yellow Music: 125 years of Deutsche Grammophon – An Eric Schulz video series

Famed for his classical music films, German director Eric Schulz has created a new five-part video series about the 125-year history of Deutsche Grammophon. He speaks to leading figures at DG, past and present, takes a behind-the-scenes look at recent recording sessions, and interviews some of the artists who have played a part in the label’s evolution and its success, with contributions from established DG artists including Lang Lang, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Víkingur Ólafsson, as well as more recent signings such as Jonathan Tetelman and Joe Hisaishi.

 

DG125 Merchandise

A new range of merchandise has been designed especially for the 125th anniversary. A limited number of “Since 1898” branded hoodies, t-shirts and tote bags will be available exclusively from the DG Store.

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