Deutsche Grammophon
Overview
 
Deutsche Grammophon is a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 classical record label
Record label
In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion,...

 which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram
PolyGram
PolyGram was the name of the major label recording company started by Philips from as a holding company for its music interests in 1945. In 1999 it was sold to Seagram and merged into Universal Music Group.-Hollandsche Decca Distributie , 1929-1950:...

. It is now part of Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 (UMG) since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label. It is also the oldest surviving established record company.
Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft was founded in 1898 by German-born United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 citizen Emile Berliner
Emile Berliner
Emile Berliner or Emil Berliner was a German-born American inventor. He is best known for developing the disc record gramophone...

 as the German branch of his Berliner Gramophone
Berliner Gramophone
Berliner Gramophone was an early record label, the first company to produce disc "gramophone records" .-History:...

 Company.
Encyclopedia
Deutsche Grammophon is a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 classical record label
Record label
In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion,...

 which was the foundation of the future corporation to be known as PolyGram
PolyGram
PolyGram was the name of the major label recording company started by Philips from as a holding company for its music interests in 1945. In 1999 it was sold to Seagram and merged into Universal Music Group.-Hollandsche Decca Distributie , 1929-1950:...

. It is now part of Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 (UMG) since its acquisition and absorption of PolyGram in 1999, and it is also UMG's oldest active label. It is also the oldest surviving established record company.

History

Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft was founded in 1898 by German-born United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 citizen Emile Berliner
Emile Berliner
Emile Berliner or Emil Berliner was a German-born American inventor. He is best known for developing the disc record gramophone...

 as the German branch of his Berliner Gramophone
Berliner Gramophone
Berliner Gramophone was an early record label, the first company to produce disc "gramophone records" .-History:...

 Company. Based in the city of Hannover (the founder's birthplace), the company had links with the U.S. Victor Talking Machine Company
Victor Talking Machine Company
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. It was headquartered in Camden, New Jersey....

 and the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Gramophone Company
Gramophone Company
The Gramophone Company, based in the United Kingdom, was one of the early recording companies, and was the parent organization for the famous "His Master's Voice" label...

, but those links were severed at the onset of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

In 1941 Deutsche Grammophon was purchased by the Siemens & Halske
Siemens AG
Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

 electronics company.

In 1949, Deutsche Grammophon sold the German rights of the His Master's Voice trademark to the Electrola Records unit of EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

. The dog and gramophone were replaced by the crown of tulips, designed by Siemens advertising consultant Hans Domizlaff.

In 1962 Siemens formed a joint venture with Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

-based Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 to create the DGG/PPI Record Group, which became PolyGram Records in 1972. By this time, DGG had built a solid reputation for high-quality recording in the classical field as well as a very notable roster of contracted singers, musicians, and conductors. Through its subsidiary label Archiv Produktion
Archiv Produktion
Archiv Produktion is a subsidiary label of Deutsche Grammophon founded in 1948.The first head of Archiv from 1948–1957, was Fred Hamel, a musicologist who set out the early Archiv releases according to 12 research periods from 1. Gregorian Chant to 12. Mannheim and Vienna...

 it also stimulated interest in Western medieval and renaissance music, 15th–16th century choral polyphony, Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant
Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western plainchant, a form of monophonic liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services...

, and pioneering use of historical instruments and performance practices in recordings.

Deutsche Grammophon was the owner of the Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

' first record label, Polydor Records
Polydor Records
Polydor is a record label owned by Universal Music Group, headquartered in the United Kingdom.-Beginnings:Polydor was originally an independent branch of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. Its name was first used as an export label in 1924, the British and German branches of the Gramophone...

. Sting's last 3 albums have been released via Deutsche Grammophon.

Deutsche Grammophon pioneered the introduction of the compact disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 to the mass market, debuting classical music performed by Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian orchestra and opera conductor. To the wider world he was perhaps most famously associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he was principal conductor for 35 years...

 and the Berlin Philharmonic for sale in the new medium in 1983, the first recording being Richard Strauss' Eine Alpensinfonie
Eine Alpensinfonie
Eine Alpensinfonie , Op. 64, is a tone poem written by German composer Richard Strauss in 1915. Though labelled as a symphony by the composer, this piece forgoes the conventions of the traditional multi-movement symphony and consists of twenty-two continuous sections of music...

.

DGG/Polydor's entrance into the US market in 1969 (DGG had distribution deals in the US with Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 and MGM Records
MGM Records
MGM Records was a record label started by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio in 1946, for the purpose of releasing soundtrack albums of their musical films. Later it became a pop label, lasting into the 1970s...

 beforehand) came at a time when the big US classical labels—Columbia (Masterworks) and RCA (Red Seal and Victor) were dropping their unlucrative classical artists and making poor-quality pressings. The fine quality both of recording and of pressings helped DGG especially succeed and attract Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler was a long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a symphony orchestra that specializes in popular and light classical music. With a combination of musicianship and showmanship, he made the Boston Pops one of the best-known orchestras in the country...

 and the Boston Pops Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra
The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts, that specializes in playing light classical and popular music....

 to DGG/Polydor. In 1987 Siemens sold off its interest in PolyGram, and Philips became the majority shareholder. In 1998, the Seagram Company Ltd. of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 purchased Deutsche Grammophon and PolyGram. Since then, Deutsche Grammophon was merged into Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

, a division of Vivendi
Vivendi
Vivendi SA is a French international media conglomerate with activities in music, television and film, publishing, telecommunications, the Internet, and video games. It is headquartered in Paris.- History :...

.

Deutsche Grammophon has a huge back catalogue of notable recordings. The company is reissuing a portion of it in its Originals series; compact disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

 releases are noted for their vinyl record stylized design. It is also releasing some of American Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

' albums from the 1940s and 1950s, such as those that Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 made for Decca in 1953, and the classic Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 album that features Ronald Colman
Ronald Colman
Ronald Charles Colman was an English actor.-Early years:He was born in Richmond, Surrey, England, the second son and fourth child of Charles Colman and his wife Marjory Read Fraser. His siblings included Eric, Edith, and Marjorie. He was educated at boarding school in Littlehampton, where he...

's starring in A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman & Hall on 17 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of...

and Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton was an English-American stage and film actor, screenwriter, producer and director.-Early life and career:...

's narrating Mr. Pickwick's Christmas. Along with the American Decca Records classical music catalogue, Deutsche Grammophon also manages the classical music catalogue of ABC Records
ABC Records
ABC Records was an American record label, founded in New York City in 1955 as ABC-Paramount Records. It originated as the main popular music label operated the Am-Par Record Corporation, the music subsidiary of the American Broadcasting Company . ABC-Paramount Records' first president was Samuel H....

, including Westminster Records
Westminster Records
Westminster Records was an American classical music record label, issuing original recordings from 1949 to 1965.It was founded in 1949 by Mischa Naida, the owner of the Westminster Record shop in New York City, businessman James Grayson, and conductor Henry Swoboda...

 which, along with American Decca, were part of MCA Records
MCA Records
MCA Records was an American-based record company owned by MCA Inc., which later gave way to the larger MCA Music Entertainment Group , of which MCA Records was still part. MCA Records was absorbed by Geffen Records in 2003...

.

Although Deutsche Grammophon acquired the reputation of releasing mainstream classical recordings, from the 1960s onwards it released several avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 recordings (initially under the Avant-Garde imprint), including Bruno Maderna
Bruno Maderna
Bruno Maderna was an Italian conductor and composer. For the last ten years of his life he lived in Germany and eventually became a citizen of that country.-Biography:...

, David Bedford
David Bedford
David Vickerman Bedford , was an English composer and musician. He wrote and played both popular and classical music....

, Cornelius Cardew
Cornelius Cardew
Cornelius Cardew was an English experimental music composer, and founder of the Scratch Orchestra, an experimental performing ensemble. He later rejected the avant-garde in favour of a politically motivated "people's liberation music".-Biography:Cardew was born in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire...

, Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.- Early years :Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter...

 and improvisations. It also released the majority of the compositions of Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

 until the composer bought the rights to the recordings and re-released them on his own label. Other German composers associated with the label included Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith
Paul Hindemith was a German composer, violist, violinist, teacher, music theorist and conductor.- Biography :Born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, Hindemith was taught the violin as a child...

 and Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze is a German composer of prodigious output best known for "his consistent cultivation of music for the theatre throughout his life"...

.

Contemporary composers whose works were released by Deutsche Grammophon include Sofia Gubaidulina
Sofia Gubaidulina
Sofia Asgatovna Gubaidulina, is a Russian composer of half Russian, half Tatar ethnicity.Gubaidulina's music is marked by the use of unusual instrumental combinations...

, Oliver Knussen
Oliver Knussen
Oliver Knussen CBE is a British composer and conductor.-Biography:Oliver Knussen was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His father, Stuart Knussen, was principal double bass of the London Symphony Orchestra. Oliver Knussen studied composition with John Lambert, between 1963 and 1969 and also received...

, Mark Anthony Turnage, Peter Eötvös
Peter Eötvös
Péter Eötvös is a Hungarian composer and conductor.Eötvös was born in Odorheiu Secuiesc/Székelyudvarhely, Szeklerland, Transylvania . He studied composition in Budapest and Cologne. From 1962, he composed for film in Hungary. Eötvös played regularly with the Stockhausen Ensemble between 1968 and...

, Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono
Luigi Nono was an Italian avant-garde composer of classical music and remains one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century.- Early years :Born in Venice, he was a member of a wealthy artistic family, and his grandfather was a notable painter...

, and Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

. In 2011, Tori Amos
Tori Amos
Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument...

 signed to the label.

The conductor most associated with the label is Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian orchestra and opera conductor. To the wider world he was perhaps most famously associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he was principal conductor for 35 years...

. Other conductors under contract included Karl Böhm
Karl Böhm
Karl August Leopold Böhm was an Austrian conductor. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest symphonic and operatic conductors of the 20th century.- Education :...

, Eugen Jochum
Eugen Jochum
Eugen Jochum was an eminent German conductor.Born in Babenhausen, near Augsburg, Germany, Jochum studied the piano and organ in Augsburg until 1922. He then studied conducting in Munich...

, Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

, Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez is a French composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, and a conductor.-Early years:Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire, France. As a child he began piano lessons and demonstrated aptitude in both music and mathematics...

, Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , is an Italian conductor. He has served as music director of the La Scala opera house in Milan, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Vienna State Opera,...

, and Christian Thielemann
Christian Thielemann
-Career:Thielemann studied viola and piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin and took private lessons in composition and conducting before becoming répétiteur aged 19 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with Heinrich Hollreiser and working as Herbert von Karajan's assistant...

. A more recent signing was Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Dudamel
Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramírez is a Venezuelan conductor and violinist. He is currently the principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony in Gothenburg, Sweden, and music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Los Angeles, California...

.

External links

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