The recording world has been shocked by reports of the death yesterday of James Mallinson, a Decca graduate who won the first-ever Grammy for a classical producer and went on to win 14 more. In the early CD heyday of 1982, he won four Grammys at a go.
We hear that James was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead suffering from pneumonia and other complications, and sadly failed to pull through. There has been no confirmation yet from his family.
UPDATE: Decca have announced: We’re very saddened today to hear of the passing of James Mallinson, legendary Decca producer of the 1970s-80s. His 191 recordings included all of Mackerras’s Janacek operas, the Haydn symphony cycle with Dorati, many of Solti’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra recordings and much more. An amazing legacy.
James Mallinson was a legend in studio. I have seen him stand up to the most fearsome conductors and face them down. He worked with Solti, Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Colin Davis, Prince Charles, you name it, he never backed down. He would rather lose a lucrative client than approve an unsatisfactory performance.
I first watched him at Gil Kaplan’s original Mahler Second in Cardiff, shepherding an avowedly amateur conductor through one of the biggest, toughest symphonies and doing it with such tact and precision that they remained friends ever after.
James was the originating producer of LSO Live, followed by Mariinsky Live and CSO Resound. He invented own-label orchestra recordings. We may not see his like again.
UPDATE: On behalf of his family, the LSO has regretfully to announce the sudden and unexpected death, last Friday, of James Mallinson, one of the leading record producers of the last 40 years.