Naxos Founder, Klaus Heymann, Acquires Chandos Records

Press Release — A440 Arts Group

Chandos Records, one of the world’s leading classical labels, has been acquired by Naxos founder, Klaus Heymann. Launched in 1979 by Brian Couzens, Chandos Records boasts a catalogue of over 3,000 recordings with its stellar roster of artists including Alpesh Chauhan, Sir Andrew Davis, Edward Gardner, Neeme Järvi, John Wilson, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Louis Lortie, Federico Colli, Dame Sarah Connolly, Francesca Dego, Doric String Quartet, Early Opera Company, Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, Neave Trio, Brodsky Quartet, Laura van der Heijden, Jennifer Pike, Matilda Lloyd, Elena Urioste, Tasmin Little, Sinfonia of London, and the late Richard Hickox – all recorded in the legendary ‘Chandos Sound’.

This acquisition builds on the long-standing commercial relationship between Chandos Records and the Naxos Music Group, which will now handle worldwide physical and digital distribution for Chandos. Ralph Couzens, Managing Director of Chandos Records, will remain responsible for running the company, whose exciting schedule of new recordings will continue uninterrupted.

Ralph Couzens commented: ‘It is hard to remember a more vibrant time for Chandos Records. We are lucky to work with a group of artists whose dedication, enthusiasm, skill and imagination result in music making of the highest order. Translating this artistry to the recorded medium with our dedicated team of in-house engineers and producers is not only a privilege – it really is the backbone of Chandos Records. The continuation of these relationships, the Chandos brand and all it stands for is so important to me, continuing what my father started 45 years ago. I’m delighted that after our very first meeting I found that Klaus Heymann, like me, had such a passion for classical music and its recorded legacy – a passion that I have increasingly felt is missing within our industry. Going forward I really believe the synergy between Chandos and Klaus’ team will develop a new era in Classical recording. I’m thrilled that the Chandos artist roster, A&R policy, engineering and production process will remain unchanged, protecting the future of the Chandos brand for years to come.’

Klaus Heymann said: ‘I was delighted to have this opportunity to expand and deepen the long-standing distribution and marketing relationship between Chandos Records and the Naxos Music Group. I decided to acquire Chandos personally to give Ralph the certainty that the label will remain independent long-term. Ralph Couzens has successfully led Chandos for the last 20 years and I am grateful to him for agreeing to continue running the company which is essential for maintaining its image and status, especially when it comes to A & R policy. The Naxos Group will provide distribution and certain administrative services to Chandos allowing the company to focus on its core mission. And I will do my best to keep the company among the leading classical labels in the world.’

Chandos Records Founded in 1979 by Brian Couzens, Chandos Records quickly established itself as one of the most important labels in classical music, with an internationally acclaimed Tchaikovsky symphony cycle conducted by a young Mariss Jansons. His name was soon joined by some of the finest conductors on record, most notably Neeme Järvi and Richard Hickox. Important relationships were formed with pianists Louis Lortie, Imogen Cooper; and violinists Lydia Mordkovitch and Tasmin Little. Aside from the main label, a range of recordings of Brass Bands was quickly added, alongside the birth of the Chandos Chaconne imprint – blazing a trail in the world of authentic performance with recordings from Simon Standage, Collegium Musicum 90, Sophie Yates, Piet Kee and Richard Hickox. The Opera in English series (in collaboration with the Peter Moores foundation) resulted in over 100 opera recordings featuring the finest singers of their generation. Now led by Brian’s son Ralph Couzens, whose engineering is behind the much-praised Chandos sound, the label continues to produce between forty and fifty new recordings each year, and has won countless awards both in the UK and internationally. Winner of their prestigious Record Label of the Year award in 2022, Gramophone magazine said: “Partnerships long-established and being newly nurtured, albums which add both breadth and depth to the catalogue, a dedication to sound quality: Chandos is a shining example of exactly what makes recording so special.”

The Naxos Music Group Since its inception in 1987, Naxos has evolved from its beginnings as a budget label to a leading classical music group. Headquartered in Hong Kong with distribution and marketing subsidiaries in 15 countries worldwide, the group distributes its Naxos record label, Naxos AudioBooks as well as a number of other owned labels and provides distribution and licensing services to more than 400 independent and major classical CD and DVD labels. The Naxos Group is also an industry leader in music education boasting a wide range of physical and digital educational products. Digital platforms operated by the group include the Naxos Music Library, Naxos Music Library/World and /Jazz, Naxos Spoken Word Library, Naxos Video Library and Naxos Music Box subscription services. A collaboration between the Naxos Music Group and FUGA which began in 2022 consolidated Naxos’ unrivalled position in the field of classical music distribution.