Klaus Heymann celebrates his 80th birthday on October 22, 2016. He founded Naxos, a globally recognized leader in classical music recording, in 1987 (Naxos celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017!) Music Director John Clare spoke with Klaus about classical music and the changes over the last 30 years.
Klaus Heymann led the field in foreseeing the inevitable synthesis of recorded classical music with the internet as its vehicle for distribution. He continues to refine this competitive advantage. In 2014 he introduced a high-definition and lossless platform for streaming and downloading music – ClassicsOnline – giving listeners the very best reproduction quality to appreciate fine recordings. Using adaptive bitrate streaming technology, it was the first such service to be launched worldwide.
In 2002, Mr Heymann pioneered the concept of subscription streaming services four years before the arrival of Spotify, having launched the industry’s first streaming platform in 1996. Naxos Music Library now offers access to more than 120,000 CD-length recordings from 800 labels and similar libraries now exist for jazz recordings, spoken word and videos, as well as the Naxos Radio site.
Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, who became the first woman to conduct the BBC's Last Night of the Proms in 2013, made this comment on the occasion of Naxos' 25th anniversary: “I think speaking of Klaus' influence on classical music is too narrow. His vision as an innovative entrepreneur has resulted in the rebirth of a struggling industry. That is not only good for classical music, but for society at large. My hope is that we all look at our own organisations with the insight and foresight that Klaus has brought to the recording industry; to adapt and evolve and reinvent ourselves in the same way that Klaus has done at Naxos.”