Label news: Vienna Phil harpist plucks contract from Warner

Warner Classics has signed an exclusive deal with Anneleen Lenaerts, principal harp of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra since December 2010.

Anneleen, 29, is Belgian, bright and ambitious. She’s getting lots of solo dates.


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  • I heard Anneleen perform a few years ago. She is technically and musically quite impressive, in my opinion, in addition to being a lovely person.

  • That doesn’t make her a great musician of the harp, so few are. It takes more than speedy fingers. It should be known that NO American harpists receive contracts from labels, even though they are generally superior to European harpists, because in the USA, you have to pay to play. One has to pay all the recording costs, and some labels require payment for all the marketing as well, $10,000-20,000 is common. And not that many musicians have that kind of money. And forget about royalties. If you can find your way onto ObNaxos, they will apparently pay $2,000 total, no royalties, which is less than half of recording costs. It is grossly unfair. But, apparently European companies are better off.

    • What an utter nonsense, ‘American harpists are generally superior to European harpists’…there are very fine American as well as very fine European harpists. Anneleen is one of the most brilliant musicians. She definitely deserves this contract!

    • What a ridiculous comment. The USA international harp competition this year was won by American harpist Katherine Siochi. She was the first American to win it since 1989!!!! French harpist Emmanuel Ceysson won the Met audition last year. The final three in the last round were, I believe, two French and one Canadian- no ‘superior’ American harpists! Anyway bravo to wonderful Annaleen- a fabulous musical player- this contract well deserved!!

    • There is no (big) difference between the US and Europe. In the socalled golden era of the recording business (aka industry) the (major) labels usually paid either flat-fees to the artists or advance payments with royalties. For many years now it is completely different. The artists pay (recording, cover, etc.) and give a license to the label in order to get hopefully royalties. This new model was used basically by the socalled independant labels, who have a very positive image in the public for other reasons… However, in many cases, the major labels are using this new model very often because the business doesn’t allow paying like in the old days, where real record sales existed.

    • Roughly speaking, in the “golden-age” of recordings, musicians performed live in concerts to help them generate album sales. Now, musicians produce albums to help them generate concert ticket sales.

  • Well, folks, I can tell you that all three harpists of the Vienna Phil are absolutely superlative musicians – I’ve conducted them regularly at the Staatsoper over the last three years in Swan Lake and other Harp-tastic pieces. Anneleen (playing a different version of Swan Lake in a performance for the first time – without rehearsal – ) completely saved the day in the Black Swan variation when the oboist had a freak episode and failed to come in… she calmly repeated the accompaniment “till ready” until the oboist joined … totally brilliant musician – sensitive, musical , first-class!

      • As in all departments of the orchestra there are shared principal chairs ( ie there are four Concertmasters and three principal Violists etc) and therefore also more than one principal Harpist.

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