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Deutsche Grammophon celebrates its 120th anniversary

Gala concert in Berlin with classical music stars Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lang Lang

World Premiere of new John Williams composition, based on the "Star Wars" score

DG President Trautmann emphasizes growing relevance of classical music for society: “Today, listening is more important than ever.”

Partnerships with Staatskapelle Berlin, conducted by Manfred Honeck, and
Google Arts & Culture

Berlin, November 6, 2018 -- Deutsche Grammophon (DG), the oldest classical music label in the world, celebrated its 120th anniversary on Tuesday with a gala concert at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. The concert, featuring DG’s luminary performers, Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lang Lang as well as a world premiere of a new composition by John Williams, was followed online by an international audience via a global live stream. “120 years ago, Deutsche Grammophon was already using the best technology to bring classical musicians to the heart of society. That's what we’re still doing today, as we share our artists’ recordings and performances with a vast global audience” said Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon.

In a hectic, fast-moving age, people are looking for a place of peacefulness. They find it by listening to music. Classical music, like no other, fosters the ability to pause and focus. In short: to listen carefully. Therefore, it is becoming ever more important in a world of constant communication and increasing fragmentation of society. Thanks to digital media, music has also become more accessible than ever and the boundaries between genres have become more fluid. “Classical music is experiencing a renaissance,” said Clemens Trautmann, President of Deutsche Grammophon adds: “Through streaming services, new groups of listeners are finding their way to classical music and are inspired and touched by it. Deutsche Grammophon is actively shaping this democratising process. Given the broad range of digital offerings, we seek to provide orientation for fans and are a hallmark for quality content. We are the first classical music label to set up our own radio station, to curate audio and video content together as one offering, driving discovery and enjoyment for new and committed classical music lovers, in active partnership with the music services at Amazon, Apple and YouTube Music.”

The DG120 gala concert took place in front of 2,000 guests at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall and was live streamed to many more music lovers around the world on YouTube. Classical music virtuosos Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lang Lang performed works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart together with the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Manfred Honeck. The audience further celebrated works by John Williams, including the world premiere of “Across the Stars”, a new piece for violin and orchestra based on motifs from "Star Wars", as well as the German premiere of "Markings". Both compositions are dedicated to Anne-Sophie Mutter.

“It was a special evening,” Anne-Sophie Mutter commented after the concert. “Deutsche Grammophon has been by my side for over forty years. During this time, I have always been focused on and fascinated by consistently high standard of production, that DG supports my vision is evident across all their recordings.” Lang Lang emphasized: “We want to create new approaches to experiencing classical music and its emotional power. That’s what unites us,and is what I felt in the audience tonight. I am so glad that my fans from all over the world were able to be part of this.”

The gala concert is part of a one-year DG120 anniversary programme supported globally by Google Arts & Culture and Volkswagen AG. There are many special moments ahead for the anniversary celebrations: In addition to worldwide concert events, there will be new releases, the ‘Yellow Lounge’ format bringing classical music to nightclubs, and the DG120 website as a virtual space for discoveries (www.dg120.info). The 120th-anniversary celebrations were launched last month at a gala concert at Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In partnership with Google Arts & Culture, in addition to the global live streams from Berlin and Beijing, we established the ‘ Shellac Project ’: A collaborative restoration project to digitize rediscovered and pre-war recordings by Deutsche Grammophon and integrate them into a virtual exhibition on the Google Arts & Culture platform ( g.co/deutschegrammophon). The exhibition and shellac tracks were presented on an innovative audio station at the festival concert in the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. “Everyone should have the opportunity to experience great music,” added Candice Morrissey, Head of Music Partnerships in EMEA, YouTube. “We are incredibly proud to live stream DG’s gala concert to people around the world on YouTube so they can be inspired by this moving performance.”

Deutsche Grammophon regularly collaborates with the world renowned Staatskapelle and Staatsoper Berlin on recording projects under the leadership of General Music Director, Daniel Barenboim as well as for several of the DG120 key celebratory activities: From 18th to 20th November, Staatskapelle Berlin will be performing at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing as part of the anniversary celebrations. In addition, many of the historically significant early shellac recordings were produced together with Staatskapelle Berlin, under the lead of conductors such as Pietro Mascagni and Erich Kleiber.




Beijing, Wednesday October 10, 2018: Universal Music Group’s Deutsche Grammophon launched its 120th-anniversary celebrations (DG120) in impressive style today, hosting a triumphant gala concert at Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Globally renowned performers shared the power and beauty of classical music at this exceptional event, presented before the Imperial Ancestral Temple, or Taimiao, for an audience of 1,200 specially invited Chinese and international dignitaries. Maestro Long Yu and Daniil Trifonov led a multi-national cultural collaboration of Deutsche Grammophon artists in the most prominent high-profile live classical event for over three decades.

The DG120 gala concert marked the beginning of Deutsche Grammophon’s year-long series of global events, new releases and revelatory exploration of its historic archives. It reached a vast global following via simultaneous live streams in YouTube’s 360-degree virtual reality and regular formats. China’s leading internet technology company and music streaming service NetEase Cloud Music is offering a delayed live stream starting tomorrow, Thursday October 11, 2018. TV viewers in China can catch up on Sunday October 14, when SMG’s Art and Culture Channel broadcasts the full concert during prime time (7pm and 11pm China Standard Time). Television and cinema sales for the event will be co-produced by C Major Entertainment, worldwide operators in the marketing and distribution of music programmes. Broadcasts and cinecasts are scheduled in the next few weeks and months across the globe, in countries including Austria, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and Latin America.

“The gala concert was unforgettable,” commented Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “The concert’s historic nature was enhanced by its iconic setting in front of the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the walls of the Forbidden City. Those exquisite buildings echoed to the magnificent sounds of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Singakademie and an international cast of soloists under the direction of Maestro Long Yu, the first Chinese conductor ever to perform there.”

He continued: “We wanted to make a bold statement about the Yellow Label’s sense of tradition, its truly international mindset and its vision for the future of classical music, a vision that recognises the appetite for cultural collaboration and for sharing the art form in China, Southeast Asia and globally. Our partners and lead sponsors helped bring an important and truly creative concept to life and we thank them. I cannot imagine a more auspicious launch for our DG120 programme or a better way to inspire new listeners.”

DG’s anniversary concert was the first to be held at Taimiao since Zubin Mehta led a production of Puccini’s Turandot there twenty years ago, an event whose worldwide significance contributed to the 2008 Olympics being awarded to Beijing. Today’s concert and its pioneering online broadcasts set social media channels alight with enthusiasm, the collaborative event looks set to have a similarly global impact as Chinese artists expand their reach and share their creativity with the rest of the world.

Audiences were left spellbound by Daniil Trifonov’s performance of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. The virtuoso Russian pianist, a leading member of Deutsche Grammophon’s younger generation of artists and part of the evening’s multinational cast of musicians, was accompanied by Long Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Maestro Yu and his orchestra delivered an intensely dramatic interpretation of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, created in partnership with the mixed adult voices of the Wiener Singakademie, the Shanghai Spring Children’s Choir, and soloists Aida Garifullina, Toby Spence and Ludovic Tézier, hailing from Russia, the UK and France respectively. The programme opened with a special arrangement for strings of Liu Tianhua’s Enchanted Night and unfolded with “November” from Memoryhouse – a seminal work of neoclassical composition by the world’s leading contemporary composer, Max Richter – performed by Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Kuke Music, title sponsor for the DG120 Forbidden City concert, now in its second decade operating in the field of classical music and education services, is set to broaden its commitment to classical music in China “All the hard work and planning were rewarded today with a sensational concert,” observed the website’s founder and President, Yu He. “We share Deutsche Grammophon’s determination to build the next generation of classical music fans in China and to share this amazing art form with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.”

Internationally renowned pianist Lang Lang sent his congratulations: "As my label celebrates its birthday in my native country, I wish them great success. And I look forward to joining the anniversary festival at DG's headquarters in Berlin alongside Anne-Sophie Mutter in a month."

Mr Zhu Yiwen, CEO of NetEase Cloud Music, the exclusive online video streaming partner in China for the DG120 gala concert, comments: “NetEase Cloud Music is wholly dedicated to the promotion of high-quality digital music. We are honoured to collaborate with Universal Music Group’s prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon on this very special occasion and to enable such a distinguished global classical music event to be shared with audiences in China via our online video streaming service. We are also delighted to have the opportunity to continue promoting classical music education and expanding the development of digital music in the Chinese market.”

Sunny Chang, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Greater China, praised the teams involved in DG120’s inaugural event: “This breath-taking concert grew out of international collaboration and co-operation,” he observed. “It delivered a clear message of what can be achieved when people work together across cultures to realise a shared vision. Deutsche Grammophon’s decision to launch its anniversary year in Beijing underlines its commitment to further develop classical music in China and throughout Southeast Asia, where there is already a large and enthusiastic young audience. Today, hundreds of thousands of fans were able to experience a wonderfully rich and diverse programme. These important relationships will serve as a gateway to introduce even more Chinese classical artists to a new generation of global fans.”

Deutsche Grammophon’s Taimiao concert marked the beginning of an unprecedented and strikingly ambitious international programme of activities designed to raise awareness of the Yellow Label’s rich legacy, present innovations and future aspirations. The year-long DG120 anniversary programme, presented with global support from Google Arts & Culture and Volkswagen Group, offers everything from newly digitised rare archive recordings (The Shellac Project) and new albums to high-profile performances, international Yellow Lounge classical club nights and extensive online coverage. Tonight’s gala event, organised by Beijing Mingxun Communications Consultants Co., Ltd, was presented with title sponsor Chinese digital platform Kuke Music and in partnership with the luxury watch and jewellery brand Chopard.

Caroline Scheufele, Artistic Director and Co-President of Chopard said it was an honour to work in partnership with DG120. The Swiss luxury watch and jewellery Maison, she noted, shares Deutsche Grammophon’s commitment to the highest standards of beauty in art. “Those qualities were seen and heard at their best at today’s concert, which brought together the power of great music-making, the presence of great architecture, and the thrill of being part of a global event, something not just extraordinary but also life-enhancing. What a glorious start to Deutsche Grammophon’s anniversary year! Chopard has always been supporting arts and classical music as we share the same values of passion, excellence and creation of emotions.”


The Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing’s Forbidden City to host Deutsche Grammophon’s unique 120th Anniversary Concert

Spectacular event to feature Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and maestro Long Yu together with leading international vocalists and DG pianist Daniil Trifonov

Yellow Lounge classical club nights to be launched in China for the first time

Deutsche Grammophon’s live 120th-anniversary festivities take flight on 10 October 2018 with a sensational concert at Taimiao – the Imperial Ancestral Temple of Beijing’s Forbidden City. The event trains the spotlight on Chinese excellence in classical music while underlining Deutsche Grammophon’s position as one of the world’s leading cultural ambassadors. It also marks the beginning of an unprecedented, comprehensive and strikingly ambitious international programme of activities designed to raise awareness of the label’s rich legacy, present innovations and future aspirations. The year-long anniversary programme, presented with global support from Google Arts & Culture and Volkswagen Group, offers everything from rare archive recordings and new albums to high-profile performances, classical club nights and extensive online coverage. The concert at the Imperial Ancestral Temple, organised by Beijing Mingxun Communications Consultants Co., Ltd, will be presented in partnership with Chinese digital-music platform Kuke Music and the luxury watch and jewellery brand Chopard.

Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon, believes that DG120’s programme of events and recordings holds the power to build bridges between different cultures. Above all, he says, it will highlight the international reach and enduring power of classical music. “Deutsche Grammophon has been in the business of inspiring people with music and performances of the highest quality since the 1890s. The label has always been alive to new markets and new technologies. Long Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra share our vision of building the future audience for classical music, one that is open to people from all backgrounds and ages. I am thrilled that Deutsche Grammophon will start its anniversary year with a genuinely historic event in Beijing. Millions will be able to watch the concert on TV and digital media and to follow other DG120 events online.”

Managing Director of Universal Music China, Garand Wu, praises Deutsche Grammophon’s vision for the future of western classical music in China and beyond. “We know that there are well over 40 million piano students in China and that the already strong appetite among Chinese audiences for orchestral concerts and opera productions is only set to increase,” he comments. “Deutsche Grammophon’s decision to launch its 120th -anniversary year with a live performance in Beijing, at one of the world’s great historic landmarks, is sure to inspire millions of young people in China and give momentum to the rise of a vast audience here and across Southeast Asia. This is an exciting time for everyone involved in introducing new listeners to classical music in China. I am delighted to see Deutsche Grammophon and Universal Music China leading the way with such a bold series of DG120 events and outreach projects.”

Taimiao last hosted a classical concert twenty years ago, when Zubin Mehta led a production of Puccini’s Turandot. Deutsche Grammophon artist Long Yu will become the first Chinese conductor to perform there when he directs the internationally renowned Shanghai Symphony Orchestra in a programme crowned by Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. They will be joined by the mixed adult voices of the Wiener Singakademie; the Shanghai Spring Children’s Choir; soprano Aida Garifullina, tenor Toby Spence and baritone Ludovic Tézier. The lyrics of Carmina Burana are taken from a 13th-century manuscript discovered in a Bavarian monastery and are thus from a similar era as the inceptions of the Forbidden City.

The concert opens with a special arrangement of Enchanted Night by Liu Tianhua. Violinist Mari Samuelsen takes the solo lead in “November” from Max Richter’s Memoryhouse, a seminal work of contemporary neoclassical composition, before Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, with soloist Daniil Trifonov, closes the concert’s first half. A press conference was held in Shanghai on 5 September and ticket sales was open that same day.

Deutsche Grammophon also signals its long-term commitment to China and the development of new audiences for western classical music on 13 September with the introduction of its pioneering Yellow Lounge classical club night format to Beijing. Violinist Daniel Hope, members of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and clarinettist Wang Tao, whose local DG debut album proved an online sensation across Asia, are among the artists set to bring the Yellow Lounge experience to China. Special DG120 editions will take place during the anniversary year in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo and will be live streamed to fans around the world.

Maestro Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, who signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon earlier this year, will preview the Taimiao programme for their home audience at Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall on 7 October. Shortly before delivering the DG120 Beijing concert, conductor and orchestra will also record their debut album for the label in Shanghai. Set for release next year and coinciding with the orchestra’s 140 th anniversary, it will establish a dialogue between Chinese and European orchestral music in repertoire including Qigang Chen’s Violin Concerto, with Maxim Vengerov as soloist, and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.

Kuke Music, title sponsor for the DG120 Forbidden City concert, now in its second decade operating in the field of classical music and education services, will broaden its commitment to classical music in partnership with Deutsche Grammophon during the DG120 year. “We are delighted to sponsor this bold initiative from one of the great names in classical recording and contribute to its plans to grow the global audience for classical music,” observes the website’s founder and President, Yu He. “Deutsche Grammophon’s wholehearted commitment to China is such an important step in creating the next generation of classical fans. And, as being the only non-pop music platform in China, Kuke Music will also commit to the development of classical music more generally.”

Caroline Scheufele, Artistic Director and Co-President of Chopard, is very honoured to be the partner of DG120. The Swiss luxury watch and jewellery Maison shares Deutsche Grammophon’s commitment to excellence and to the highest standards of beauty in art. “Chopard and Deutsche Grammophon were both founded in the 19th century and have developed since by understanding the need to build and create for the future. We are delighted to support DG120’s Beijing gala and to be involved with a project of celebrating the arts as its highest level.”

From the most influential musician of all time



32 Labels, 222CDs, 750+ Performers & Ensembles, 280 Hours of Music, 10 Hours of New Recordings including 7 World Premieres, 2 luxury hardback books, advance presentation of BWV3 Catalogue, plus digital product suite

Deutsche Grammophon and Decca proudly announce the release of the largest and most complete box set ever devoted to the work of a single composer. The 222 CD Complete Edition is the result of two years of curation and scholarship and has been developed with the cooperation of 32 labels and a team of scholars at the Leipzig Bach Archive, with an introductory DVD documentary and written welcome by its President Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and with editorial consultant Nicholas Kenyon presiding over work-by-work musical commentary.

The set marks 333 years since the birth of J.S. Bach. We can confidently say that certain numbers and numerical proportions had a special structural and sometimes religious significance for Bach. References to the number three reflect the important doctrine of God’s Tri-unity which lies at the core of Bach’s Lutheran faith. Nicholas Kenyon says: “333 is important, because one of the key Bach numbers is 3 representing the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The symbolism of three, and three times three, is everywhere in the collection of organ works Clavier-Übung III (1739). We often sense these underlying features in Bach’s work; while I don’t think he ever let them dominate his thinking, it was clearly a way in which he was expressing the harmony of the universe as he saw it.” The set is thus known as ‘Bach 333’.

Across 16,926 minutes of music over 5,533 tracks, Bach 333 presents every known note from the great master and opens up his world – and his impact on our world – in a uniquely immersive way: through audio, visual, printed and online materials. The set, the largest ever devoted to a single composer and exceeding in size even the massively-successful ‘Mozart 225’ Edition of two years ago, presents Bach’s complete oeuvre from 750 hand-picked performers and ensembles across 32 labels including Sony, Warner, BIS, SDG, Denon and Harmonia Mundi.

Two handsomely illustrated hardback books are included. The first book, entitled LIFE, presents a lavishly illustrated biography by leading Bach scholar Dorothea Schröder plus thirteen essays of the latest thinking from leading scholars from the Leipzig Bach Archive. The second book, MUSIC presents a new essay by doyen of Bach scholarship Christoph Wolff followed by work-by-work commentary by Nicholas Kenyon (author of The Faber Pocket Guide to Bach). Also included are complete sung texts and English translations, facsimile reproductions of key scores and a guide to further online resources including the Bach Archive’s ground-breaking Bach Digital initiative. Meanwhile, the set also conforms to the very latest research from the Leipzig Bach Archive and their new BWV3 catalogue due to be published in 2019-20. The life of Bach is further explored on DVD in Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s 90-minute BBC film ‘Bach: A Passionate Life’. The colour-coded layout of Bach 333 presents the works chronologically within one of four genres – Vocal Music, Keyboard Music, Orchestral Music and Instrumental Music. The consumer can navigate with ease across the enormous and rich array of content.

Best-in-class historically-informed performancesinclude a handpicked set of the complete Cantatas led by outstanding contributions from Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Masaaki Suzuki, plus strong showings from Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Gustav Leonhardt, Nicolaus Harnoncourt, Sigiswald Kuijken and more; other leading names featured across the Edition include Reinhard Goebel, Christopher Hogwood, Paul McCreesh, Franz Brüggen, Trevor Pinnock, Christophe Coin, Christophe Rousset and Rinaldo Alessandrini.

The set also presents over 50 CDs of alternative recordings including modern piano performances of all the key works from András Schiff, Murray Perahia, Angela Hewitt, Martha Argerich, Alfred Brendel and many more. 90 years of evolving Bach performance traditions in vocal and instrumental practice can be heard in legendary performances from a plethora of artists from Alfred Deller to Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Adolf Busch to Claudio Abbado, Willem Mengelberg t