Classical Music News: Hall of Fame honour for Naxos Chairman
Klaus Heymann, the founding chairman of Naxos, has been included in the 2013 Gramophone Hall of Fame.
The other four citations were awarded posthumously!
Naxos has done a huge amount for the guitar in their Laureate series and their gradual complete coverage of the repertoire. Klaus Heymann has personally done a lot to promote the guitar (partly because it is advantageous economically!), and I am grateful to have been the first guitarist recorded by Naxos in the early days.
Since then, with the advent of Norbert and Bonnie Kraft at the helm of guitar production, Naxos has become renowned in the guitar world for superior sound and interpretation.
Our first ever project was “Chinese Melodies for violin and guitar” for HK Records with Mrs.Heymann aka Takako Nishizaki. The recording was done in the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon after Takako and I had played at a festival in Povoa de Varzim. We were guests of Count of Mangualde, Vila Real and Melo at the famous Casa de Mateus (which picture is on every bottle of Mateus Rose wine).
Klaus was very solicitous, carrying our instruments everywhere for us, and helping us find some music we had both forgotten to bring! He also introduced me to superb Portuguese wines and the delights of Portuguese cuisine in Lisbon.
From this small beginning I went on to record five more CDs for Naxos, and the rest is history.
I am pleased he has received this award. Klaus always had the common person in mind when he created the company in 1987.
He had what I considered a fair way of dealing with artists who needed a recording to be recognised.
He has not shied away from speaking his mind about the larger recording companies.
He has been forward looking in seeing what consumers want.
Naxos was one of the first companies to open their catalogue to the internet in the form of the Naxos Music Library, which now has the largest collection of classical and jazz music online.
Always looking for an opening others might have missed, he has used Eastern European musicians, and, because of his Hong Kong connections, has been adventurous in producing recordings in China.
My first recording of the Rodrigo concerto was done in a synagogue in Kosice on the eastern border of Slovakia with musicians who carried on recording night and day until the project was done. Peter Breiner was the conductor and definitely the man in charge!
Our latest project was the recording of my Etudes Esquisses with John Holmquist.
There will be more. Thank you Klaus and congratulations!