Graham Parker, general manager of New York radio station WQXR, has been appointed president of Universal Music’s classical labels in the US.
Graham, 46, ran the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for almost eight years before taking up the radio job in 2010. British-born, he entered the music industry through an assistant’s job with the New York Philharmonic.
His staff are being told about the move at this moment.
By some weird PR coincidence, the New York Times ran a soft feature about Graham at the weekend.
Press release coming up:
SANTA MONICA, May 24, 2016 – Universal Music Group, the world leader in music-based entertainment, today named Graham Parker, General Manager of WQXR, the most-listened to classical music radio station in the U.S. and a 2016 Peabody Award-winner for its Q2Music podcast, as President of its legendary roster of U.S. classical music labels, part of the Verve Label Group.
In this new role, Parker will oversee UMG’s U.S. classical music labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Decca Records, Decca Classics, Mercury Classics, and distributed label ECM. Parker will be based in New York and report jointly to Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics for Universal Music Group, and Danny Bennett, recently appointed President & CEO of Verve Label Group.
To accelerate Universal Music’s classical music strategy, Parker will serve as the U.S. lead for the company’s classical music initiatives to develop and promote emerging classical recording artists and composers on a global scale, working closely with Stainer, David Joseph, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK & Ireland and Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon. In close co-ordination with this global team, Parker will develop digital strategies to bring U.S. Universal artists to the widest audiences possible, will deepen relationships with the leading ensembles and venues throughout the U.S., and explore new business opportunities for today’s 21st century artists.
While at New York Public Radio, Parker oversaw and implemented ambitious initiatives to serve New York’s thriving classical music scene with new programming, digital offerings, bold community engagement projects, and a robust roster of live events and live broadcasts including performances from Lang Lang to Rufus Wainwright, from its own studios to the stages of Carnegie Hall.
Bennett said, “Universal Music is home to some of the world’s finest classical recordings and composers in history, as well as the world’s cutting edge new artists. With Graham, we’re adding an executive who has a proven track record of having his finger on the pulse of classical music and opera and who has made the genre accessible to a whole new audience through groundbreaking programming and digital innovation. I’m looking forward to working with Graham and together making an indelible impact in the world of classical music.”
Added Stainer, “I’m delighted to welcome someone of Graham’s stature and visionary approach to help expand classical music’s reach and audience in the U.S. His arrival marks a moment of excitement and opportunity for artists and music fans in America and across the world.”
“I’ve devoted my life to classical music and bringing this incredible genre to as wide an audience as possible,” said Parker. “The opportunity to not only join the legendary catalog of Deutsche Grammophon and Decca, but to also be on the forefront of identifying the classical superstars of tomorrow, was too incredible to pass up. I’m humbled by this opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with Danny, Dickon, Michele Anthony and the entire UMG team.”