Update: IMG loses its grip on prime artist

Update: IMG loses its grip on prime artist


norman lebrecht

May 06, 2015

Disaster comes knocking once more at the door of fraudster-owned IMG Artists. It has been announced that Joshua Bell, one of the agency’s highest earners, has made other arrangements, along with agent, Matthew Zelle.

Read all about it in the press release below.

joshua bell bognar

UPDATE1: Bell’s PR adds: Park Avenue Artists is managing Joshua. IMG will continue to book Joshua and provide general management in Europe.

UPDATE2: IMG Artists have issued the following statement: ‘IMG Artists remains Mr Bell’s exclusive booking agent for North America.  IMGA Senior Vice President Alexander Monsey is his General Manager for Europe.’

Go figure.

press release:




Violinist Joshua Bell, Time for Three, Pianist Daniela Liebman Among Latest Artists to Join Park Avenue’s Roster


NEW YORK,   May 6, 2015 — Matthew Zelle has joined the executive team at Park Avenue Artists, the distinctive artist-management company. Zelle will hold the title of Executive Vice President at Park Avenue Artists (PAA), co-founded in 2011 by David Lai and Ross Michaels, who share the title of President.


“We are very excited to have Matthew join us. I have known and worked with Matthew for many years and am extremely pleased he will bring his expertise and counsel to Park Avenue Artists,” Lai says. Adds Michaels, “Matthew is an accomplished artist manager whose background and vision will foster new opportunities and growth for our wide ranging roster of artists. I am looking forward to having Matthew help us further the PAA mission.”


Zelle joins Park Avenue Artists at an exciting time as internationally acclaimed Grammy® Award-winning and Sony Masterworks recording artist violinist Joshua Bell, the innovative Universal Music Classics trio Time for Three, and the prize-winning young pianist Daniela Liebman join an eclectic roster, which includes two-time Drama Desk nominee (Side Show, Passion) and pops-orchestra star Ryan Silverman; Concord recording artist and ASCAP Award vocalist and bassist Kate Davis; Broadway (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast) and pops-orchestra star Ashley Brown; Tommy Boy Records artist Pants Velour; and Flo Rida’s IMG/Strong Arm singer/songwriter Marco Foster.


Matthew Zelle brings to his new post more than a decade of experience in worldwide artist management. He began his career with Columbia Artists Management, Inc. (CAMI), working with such prestigious opera singers as sopranos Hei-Kyung Hong and Anna Netrebko; mezzo-sopranos Denyce Graves and Frederica von Stade; and bass Samuel Ramey. After joining IMG Artists LLC, Zelle rose to the position of Senior Vice President, managing a roster of five internationally recognized artists –Joshua Bell, legendary flautist Sir James Galway, the nine-time Grammy® Award winning Emerson String Quartet, soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and pianist Conrad Tao – among others.  


A native of Iowa, Zelle developed his passion for the business side of music at Clarke University in Dubuque, IA, where he was awarded a B.A. in Music, with a Business minor. Internships with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, NY, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington led him into arts administration. Upon graduation, Zelle accepted a position at CAMI and moved to New York. In the eleven years he spent at IMG Artists, he held a variety of posts, eventually becoming one of the youngest vice presidents in the company’s history. Zelle maintains a close connection with Clarke University, which in 2014 named him the winner of its Rising Star Award, presented by the University’s Alumni Association for alumni 35 years of age and younger who have made an impact in their career fields.


At Park Avenue Artists, Zelle will renew his long association with Joshua Bell. Bell recently became affiliated with the management company after many years of collaborating with David Lai, who has served as A&R and/or producer for his recordings on the Sony Masterworks label since 2006.


Also new to Park Avenue Artists’ roster are: 


 Time for Three, the outside-the-box trio of American musicians that records for Universal Classics and will be the subject of a PBS special later this year. Time for Three is also the resident trio at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.


 Daniela Liebman, the brilliant young pianist from Mexico who has won first prize in a string of international competitions – Night in Madrid International Youth Music Festival in Madrid (2011); Lang Lang Telefonica in Berlin (2011); Russian Music International Piano Competition in San Jose, CA (2012); and the Lang Lang Junior Music Camp Competition in Munich (2013).


Lai and Michaels founded Park Avenue Artists in 2011 to offer a distinctive range of artist management services – from career development and guidance, to the strategic worldwide development of established artist brands across all platforms – for a selective roster of classical, Broadway and pop performers.


Lai and Michaels bring more than thirty combined years of diverse industry experience to Park Avenue Artists. They have produced special projects, events and recordings with such artists as violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Emanuel Ax and soprano Renee Fleming, in addition to its own roster. Other credits include many video specials including PBS specials for Time For Three, Itzhak Perlman, and Renee Fleming; music for an upcoming DVD workout line for fitness trainer Shaun T, and PBS and HBO programs for Joshua Bell.


David Lai, a multiple Grammy nominee and winner in 2009 as producer of the Masterworks Broadway cast recording of the Broadway revival of West Side Story, recently produced for Universal the original cast recording for Lincoln Center Theater’s acclaimed, Tony®-nominated revival of The King and I



  • Freddy says:

    Sad state of affairs when the likes of a Joshua Bell is considered a marque draw……

  • tess says:

    good for him. But, what’s up with this signing infants for management?

  • Simon Sullivan says:

    Prime Artist? On a roster which includes Hilary Hahn, Andsnes, Jurowski, Julia Fischer, Pappano, Perahia, Fleming, Bychkov? I think a certain re-alignment of priorities might be required…

    • Garrett Chandler says:

      From an income perspective, Bell is certainly a “Prime Artist”. Of the artists you listed, Andsnes and Bychkov recently left with Kathryn Enticott when she started up Enticott Music Management (see above link). Fleming, Hahn and Jurowski, while all with robust incomes, do not come close to Bell. And Pappano, Fischer and Perahia are not in the same league from a financial vantage point.