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April 4, 2012

Universal Music Group launches new label, Mercury Classics

Universal Music Group launches new label, Mercury ClassicsUniversal Music Group has today announced the creation of a new classical music label to complement Deutsche Gramophone and Decca.

Mercury Classics will be an artist and repertoire centre which aims to identify and work with creative talents who can bring a distinctive and fresh perspective to classical music, whether they are young artists approaching it in a new way, or established musicians, outside the field, curious about exploring the genre.

Dr Alexander Buhr has been appointed Managing Director of Mercury Classics. Buhr, with Deutsche Grammophon for more than 10 years, has been central to the recording careers of Lang Lang, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Elina Garanca, Magdalena Kozena, Hilary Hahn and many others. He signed such outstanding talents as Lisa Batiashvili and Anna Prohaska to Deutsche Grammophon and was responsible for two of the most talked-about albums of 2011, Mediterraneo, the award-winning debut from classical breakthrough artist, guitarist Milos Karadaglic, and Tori Amos’s Night of Hunters.

Alexander Buhr said:

"There has rarely been so much opportunity to find new ways of looking at classical music. There is an audience hungry for new experiences and the boundaries between musical genres are becoming more penetrable. Mercury Classics will be a home for artists who are aware of classical music’s great heritage and who are searching for their own way of approaching it and extending the tradition for our time. The aim is to create, nurture and support music of integrity."

Max Hole, COO, Universal Music Group International, commented:

“There’s no better time to take audiences for classical music beyond their imagination, and there’s no one better to deliver on that promise than Alex.  We’re confident that he will lead Mercury Classics with distinction and flair.”

The label will build on Universal Music’s existing Mercury brand. Famous since the 1940s for vibrant and progressive music making in pop, jazz, folk and classical, and later for its classical label Mercury Living Presence, Mercury remains an icon of recording history. In the spirit of this, Mercury Classics will be highly focussed, hand–picking projects of artistic integrity which step towards redefining classical music for the 21st century.

Having brought Milos and Tori Amos to Deutsche Grammophon, Buhr will continue to work with these artists as joint ventures between Deutsche Grammophon and Mercury Classics. Future projects are to be developed exclusively for Mercury Classics and will be announced in due course.