Exclusive: how to fire a music-biz top dog (second shot of the summer)

A few days ago I reported – exclusively, since none of the music media dared to touch the story for fear of losing label ads – that EMI had sacked the head of Classics, Eric Dingman. The euphemism used in the convoluted internal email was that he’s ‘moving on’.

It could be that nobody has told Eric yet, since his Facebook page still lists him as head of EMI Classics, but I guess he’ll read slipped disc when he tries to get back to work, and find he’s got no work to get back to. Tough old world, the music biz.

The big news this morning is that Universal Music have got rid of half of their classical artists’ agency. One of the two founding partners, Jeffrey Vanderveen, has been fired as foretold exclusively here.

No, not fired. He has been totally whitewashed out of the company, which is changing its name to Centre Stage Management under the direction of his former co-conspirator, Manfred Seipt, and a woman, Judith Neuhoff, who works part-time for Daniel Barenboim. Here’s the internal email:

We are very pleased to inform you about some imminent changes at Universal Music Classical Management & Productions (UMCMP).Over the past 12 months, we have seen a renewed, dynamic commitment to classical music by the Universal Music Group.  This new spirit extends to UMCMP, and we continue to improve and advance what we do. One important change concerns our name and structure.  In future, the company will operate under two distinct, independent identities. CENTRE STAGE ARTIST MANAGEMENT (CSAM) will manage some of the finest classical artists in the world, such as yourself. 
UNIVERSAL MUSIC ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT (UMAE) will produce and promote live events worldwide. 
Centre Stage Artist Management (CSAM) will provide comprehensive management to leading artists in the field of classical music, tailored to suit their individual needs. Our philosophy is to support each individual client in building and maintaining the best career possible, according to their ambitions.  Through our in-depth collaboration with opera houses and concert halls worldwide, record labels, PR companies and promoters, we are able to offer unique perspective and guidance to artists.Centre Stage Artist Management (CSAM) will operate from Berlin and continue to build an artist roster of supreme excellence.Judith Neuhoff has been appointed Managing Director of Centre Stage Artist Management.  She also continues her work as Special Assistant to Daniel Barenboim. Jonathan Letts, Associate Director, Margit Weber, Artist Manager, and Maria Mot, Managerial Associate, complete the CSAM managerial staff, and the entire team is looking forward to continuing their work with you.

Quality, transparency and accountability will be the guiding principles of our work for the future. 

We remain fully committed to our artists, our business partners and our staff.  We – and you – have the full support of our parent, Universal Music Group.

Universal Music Arts & Entertainment has built possibly the only true pan-European touring circuit for classical music over the last three years, and we intend to round off our efforts with new subscription series in Amsterdam, Lyon, Marseille, Geneva, Madrid and Barcelona in the 2012/13 season.Our production and promotion business is a strong partner to the labels, and to many of the Universal Music operating companies, fulfilling its brief to create synergies between the recorded music and live arms of Universal Music.  UMAE will continue this success story for years to come.We hope this gives you a clearer view of our goals, and who at our two companies is helping to achieve them. Please don’t hesitate to contact either of us for further information about these realigned, rebranded businesses, and the opportunities which lie ahead.

Judith Neuhoff
Managing Director, Centre Stage Artist Management
Manfred Seipt
Managing Director, Universal Music Arts & Entertainment

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