News / Arts & Entertainment

    Classical Sounds Invade Country Music Capital

    The Nashville Symphony Orchestra prepares to record Richard Danielpour's "Darkness in the Ancient Valley" at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee. (Courtesy Nashville Symphony)
    The Nashville Symphony Orchestra prepares to record Richard Danielpour's "Darkness in the Ancient Valley" at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee. (Courtesy Nashville Symphony)
    Mike Osborne
    Nashville, Tennessee, home to the famous Grand Ole Opry, is perhaps best known as America's country music capital.

    But you're just as likely to hear the sounds of a violin as a fiddle because the world’s largest classical music label has its North American headquarters right on Nashville’s doorstep.

    Naxos Records is located in Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville. The label has more than 7,000 recordings in its catalog, and stores more than four million CDs in the warehouse.

    Shrink-wrapped CDs and music DVDs are stacked on row after row of shelves 10 meters high and 100 meters long.

    Naxos ships 1,000 customer orders from its Tennessee warehouse every day. It’s quite an accomplishment for a 25-year-old company that began life as a budget label with a reputation for recording minor works by obscure orchestras.
    Naxos Records is located in Franklin, Tennessee, stores more than four million CDs in its North American warehouse alone. (Courtesy Naxos Records)Naxos Records is located in Franklin, Tennessee, stores more than four million CDs in its North American warehouse alone. (Courtesy Naxos Records)
    x
    Naxos Records is located in Franklin, Tennessee, stores more than four million CDs in its North American warehouse alone. (Courtesy Naxos Records)
    Naxos Records is located in Franklin, Tennessee, stores more than four million CDs in its North American warehouse alone. (Courtesy Naxos Records)

    “To this day, they still record hungry young orchestras that don’t have much in the way of a recording profile,” says Jim Svejda, author of “The Insider’s Guide to Classical Music,” and host of a nationally syndicated classical music radio program. “The Fort Smith Symphony in Arkansas is actually making recordings. The Grand Rapids Symphony in Michigan is recording symphonies by Adolphus Hailstork which are not easy to play, and they’re making absolutely superb recordings.”

    According to Svejda, right from the beginning, Naxos distinguished itself by having those orchestras record music beyond the standard repertoire.

    “Twenty years ago it was the same old dinosaur record companies that every once in a while, every four or five years, would launch a new Beethoven Symphony cycle with, you know, with he newest hot, young conductor with predictable results," he says. "People just kind of lost interest.”

    With more than 115 million recordings sold to date, people are clearly paying attention now. And no one is more surprised than Klaus Heymann, the company’s 76-year-old founder.

    He launched Naxos, in part, to distribute recordings made by his wife, world-class Japanese violinist Takako Nishizaki.

    Heymann is a German-born entrepreneur who doesn’t play an instrument and can’t read music. He’s convinced those were the perfect qualifications for the job.

    “I had run other very successful businesses before I started the record companies. So I looked at that with the cold eye of the businessman and I said, ‘This is all crazy how they run this business. Why don’t we do it differently?’”
    Classical Sounds Invade Country Music Capital
    Classical Sounds Invade Country Music Capitali
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    Heymann’s approach was so different, some industry observers initially labeled his tactics predatory. Anne Midgette, a music critic with The Washington Post, says he was accused of taking advantage of artists who were desperate to record.

    “They didn’t pay the kinds of expenses or royalties or deals that were then customary in the business," says Midgette. "In fact, Naxos was about 10 years ahead of its time in that.”

    Midgette says it’s clear now that Heymann’s tactics were evolutionary, not exploitive, and she considers his ability to continue to adapt and innovate the key to his success.

    One of those innovations has forever endeared Heymann to American audiophiles. In 1998, he launched the Naxos American Classics series, recording the works of more than 200 American composers not generally well known in the rest of the world.

    Heymann launched the series to help Naxos break into the notoriously hard to crack American music market. The series has grown to include more than 400 titles.

    “It hasn’t made any money," Heymann says. "In fact, it’s lost a lot of money, but it was wonderful for our prestige. We’ve won so many Grammys with our American Classics.”

    The Nashville Symphony has won seven of those Grammys for Naxos. Symphony president Alan Valentine was happy to demonstrate another of Klaus Heymann’s innovations. The Naxos Music Library is an online subscription tool that allows users to play, or stream, selections from the company’s entire catalog.   

    Heymann embraced online streaming five years before Apple launched iTunes. His staff thought he was crazy, but it was a move he now considers his proudest achievement.

    “It’s a veritable reference library for classical music,” Heymann says.

    And he's determined to keep adding to it.

    “You cannot imagine how much more music is out there. So we’ll not run out of things to record.”

    And with Heymann at the helm, it seems likely that Naxos, like the namesake Greek Island long known as a birthplace of classical art, will continue to evolve and inspire. The label recently released an application for Apple’s iPad that introduces children to classical music.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ibrahim Ajlan from: yemen
    January 29, 2013 2:37 AM
    it is really nice

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs