Decca breaks a record – it signs a British artist

Decca breaks a record – it signs a British artist


norman lebrecht

April 11, 2011

Decca has just announced the signing of a young pianist. His name is Benjamin Grosvenor, he’s 18 years old and there has been an unmistakable buzz about him ever since he came out as top pianist in the BBC Young Musican of the Year contest, aged just 11.

Anyway, he now has a label.
But more remarkable is the realisation that he is the first British pianist Decca have signed for half a century. Not since Clifford Curzon, Moura Lympany and Peter Katin has a Brit got to play on home label. Where has Decca been all this time?
Mostly abroad, on expenses. 
Latterly defunct. Good to have them back.
And another thing. I seem to remember Grosvenor signed an artists development deal with EMI. Nothing came of it. I wonder why?
Press release below.







–           First British pianist to
be signed to Decca Classics in nearly 60 years

–           Youngest British artist
ever to sign to Decca Classics



(Credit: Laurie
Lewis. High-res photo available upon request)



London, Monday 11
April 2011


Decca Classics is delighted to
announce the signing of an exclusive contract with 18-year-old British pianist
Benjamin Grosvenor, who has been described by Jessica Duchen in The Independent
as “one in a million – several million” and “a keyboard visionary who knows no
bounds” (Süddeutsche Zeitung).


In doing so, Benjamin becomes the
first British pianist to sign with Decca Classics since Clifford Curzon, Moura
Lympany and Peter Katin first graced the label in the 1940s and 50s, and the
youngest British musician ever to sign to the legendary British imprint. 


At the age of 11 Grosvenor was the
youngest ever finalist in the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year competition.
Having been carefully nurtured since the age of 13 by his management Hazard
Chase, he has since achieved critical acclaim worldwide and has now secured a
contract with the major label. This makes him the first British musician to sign
with Decca Classics since it recently stated its intention to bring homegrown
classical talent back to the forefront of its roster.


Paul Moseley,
Managing Director of Decca Classics says:

‘This is an enormously significant
moment for Decca. As a British company proud of its heritage what could be more
satisfying than making this agreement with the most exceptional British pianist
to emerge in decades?  Benjamin has evolved from a child prodigy to become an
artist of extraordinary imagination and flair. Above all, he has a sound that is
all his own.  The time is now right for this major new step in what will
certainly be a long and very successful career. We are thrilled to be part of
that and look forward to many landmark projects


Grosvenor says:

‘I am very pleased and excited to
sign this deal with Decca. It is a great honour to be asked to record for a
company with such an illustrious history and which has recorded so many of the
musicians that I admire. I am very much looking forward to getting into the
studio to record such wonderful repertoire.’


Benjamin’s first recording of
Chopin’s Four Scherzi, Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and shorter pieces by Chopin
and Liszt will be recorded later this month and released in July. Chopin is one
of Benjamin’s greatest passions and his recent all-Chopin recital at LSO St
Luke’s received much acclaim … “he has built up a glittering career as both
recitalist and concerto performer…the impression we were left with was of the
sweetest physical symbiosis between this player and his instrument” (Michael
Church, The Independent).


Benjamin first rose to prominence
when he won the piano section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004 at the
age of 11. Shortly after, he made his debuts at the Royal Albert Hall, London and Carnegie Hall, New
.  He has continued to develop an international
presence in Europe, Asia and the USA with performances alongside
renowned orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Tokyo
Symphony and North Carolina Symphony, with esteemed conductors including
Alexander Lazarev and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Benjamin’s debut sell-out performance
with the Philharmonia was hailed as “a performance that took its expressive and
dramatic cues from the very heart of the music, and in so doing crafted an
interpretation of palpable character and astute panache” (Daily


In addition to his extensive
concerto schedule, Benjamin is an accomplished recitalist and is a regular at
Wigmore Hall and has enjoyed chamber music collaborations with members of the
English Chamber Orchestra.


Benjamin is currently in his third
year of studies with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music in
London and has
recently been chosen to join the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme,
which provides regular opportunities with BBC orchestras plus many recital and
festival appearances. 2011 highlights for Benjamin include performances at the
Wigmore Hall, London, Birmingham Symphony Hall,
Snape Maltings, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels,
Gstaad Winter Festival, Brescia and Bergamo Festival and Dvorak Prague
Festival, with major additional plans to be announced shortly.




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