Major publishing merger: Sikorski is rolled into Boosey

Major publishing merger: Sikorski is rolled into Boosey


norman lebrecht

June 14, 2019

The venerable UK music publisher Boosey & Hawkes is to be merged with the Hamburg-based Russian music specialist Sikorski, home to the modern Russians Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Schnittke, Weinberg, Gubaidulina (pictured) and Kancheli.

Boosey held the Rachmaninov copyrights until they expired a few years back. The company is now owned by an investment bank.

Press statement follows.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 13, 2019– Concord is pleased to announce the acquisition of the esteemed classical music publisher, Sikorski Music Publishing Group, home to a wide range of major works by legendary composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofieff, Aram Khachaturian, Dmitri Kabalevsky and Alfred Schnittke,plus ongoing relationships with important active composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Giya Kancheli and Lera Auerbach.

Under this landmark arrangement, the German-based Sikorski business will join the Concord Music Publishing family, sitting alongside Concord’s market leading Boosey & Hawkes classical business unit, which is also the custodian of a blue-chip catalogue of 20th-century masterworks and an eminent list of top contemporary composers.

Sikorski is celebrated as being one of the main custodians of golden Russian and Soviet era copyrights.Both Boosey & Hawkes and Sikorski share a heritage of active engagement with music written by Soviet era composers, promoting their works over decades in complementary territories in the West.

Beyond these historic copyrights, the Sikorski business is active in the furtherance of classical music through its engagement with current composers writing across a spectrum from chamber music, orchestral music, operas and ballets to music for children.

This new phase in the history of Sikorski will see the publisher become a key component in the active growth of Concord’s classical business and European presence, whilst plugging into the company’s major sync and marketing network.

John Minch, the long-term head of Boosey & Hawkes and President of Concord Music Publishing, Europe comments, “The union of Boosey & Hawkes and Sikorski under the Concord family of companies is a real signal to the continued value of classical repertoire. Concord is now at a moment to bring further investment and commitment to not only these evergreen catalogues, but the next generation of composers and the wider classical sector too.” Minch further noted, “I have known Dagmar and Axel Sikorski for almost 20 years and have the greatest amount of respect for their stewardship of these wonderful assets throughout their lives.”

Glen Barros, Chief Operating Officer at Concord comments, “This acquisition is important to us on many levels. In addition to adding an amazing collection of compatible works to the publishing side of our company, it is a big step toward the fulfilment of key strategic goals. Namely, we very much believe in the market for classical music and plan to further expand our presence in this genre. Further, we are looking for opportunities to expand our presence in Europe and other international markets. As a result, the acquisition of the Sikorski business really is a perfect fit.”

Dagmar Sikorski, the Managing Partner for the group and its majority shareholder, states, “We could not have found a better home for our family’s legacy classical assets. Our decades-long, deep relationships with our composers is something of which we are highly protective, and we are confident that these composers will be well looked after by the Concord and Boosey teams. We also want to acknowledge the significant efforts of Lisbeth Barron, who brought our two companies together and worked over many months to get the transaction across the finish line.”

Lisbeth R. Barron, Chairman & CEO and her team at Barron International Group, LLC acted as the exclusive financial advisor to The Sikorski Music Publishing Group for this transaction.


Concord is the independent, worldwide leader in the development, management and acquisition of sound recordings, music publishing and theatrical performance rights. Concord has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, London, Berlin and Miami and operates via three primary operating divisions:

Concord Recorded Music is comprised of five active labels across many musical genres: Concord Records, Fantasy Records, Fearless Records, Loma Vista Recordingsand Rounder Records. Concord is also home to the #1 kids’ music brand, KIDZ BOP.

The company’s historical labels are managed by its Craft Recordingsteam, and include such storied imprints as Fania, Fantasy, Independiente, Milestone, Musart, Nitro, Pablo, Prestige, Riverside, Savoy, Specialty, Stax, Telarc, Varèse Sarabande, Vee-Jay and Wind-up. Concord’s master recording portfolio contains more than 12,000 active albums and includes no less than 273 GRAMMY® winners (representing approximately 6.3% of all the GRAMMYs®ever awarded) and over 400 gold, platinum, multi-platinum and diamond RIAA certifications across 215 titles.

Concord Music Publishing represents more than 390,000 copyrighted works spanning all musical genres and including many of the world’s most celebrated compositions by its most legendary creators. Concord Music Publishing is also home to a diverse group of contemporary songwriters and composers creating important and commercially-successful new songs and musical works. Boosey & Hawkes, the world’s leading classical music publisher, and The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organizationare also business units of Concord Music Publishing.

Concord Theatricals is the world’s most significant theatrical agency, comprised of R&H Theatricals, The Musical Company, Tams-Witmarkand Samuel French. Concord Theatricals is the only firm that provides truly comprehensive services to the creators and producers of plays and musicals under a single banner, including theatrical licensing, music publishing, script publishing, cast recording and first-class production.

Concord is a private company funded by long-term institutional capital and members of Concord’s management team. At the forefront of intellectual property valuation, acquisition and utilization, the Concord investment underscores the partners’ belief in the lasting and appreciating global value of superior original creative content.


Boosey & Hawkes is the world’s leading publisher of contemporary classical music, with a blue chip catalogue of 20th-century masters including Bartók, Bernstein, Britten, Copland, Prokofieff, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Strauss and Stravinsky alongside an eminent front list of composers that includes John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Anna Clyne, Brett Dean, Detlev Glanert, Osvaldo Golijov, HK Gruber, Karl Jenkins, Elena Kats-Chernin, Magnus Lindberg, James MacMillan, Steve Reich, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Eric Whitacre.


The Sikorski Music Publishing Group has been family-owned and family-run since its founding by Dr. Hans Sikorski in the 1930s. Having pursued a dual focus on light classics/German popular songs and contemporary classical music, the group today includes imprints encompassing a range of repertoire from songs for children by Rolf Zuckowski to operas, ballets and concert works. Sikorski’s early engagement with Soviet music secured valuable European rights to Shostakovich, Prokofieff, and Khachaturian works (including Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Scandinavia and Spain) and led to an enduring commitment to the promotion of contemporary Soviet music. When leading figures such as Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina emigrated to the West, they gravitated naturally to Sikorski as their worldwide publishing home. Among the most performed works in the Sikorski catalogue are Prokofieff’s beloved ballet, Romeo and Juliet, and iconic children’s piece Peter and the Wolf; Shostakovich’s banned opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and symphonies; Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus; and Shchedrin’s ever popular Carmen Suite. Lera Auerbach (Soviet-Russian born American composer b. 1973) has continued the line of popular ballets with her score for John Neumeier’s ballet The Little Mermaid.In addition to Auerbach, Sikorski’s front list includes composers from Germany, Austria, Catalonia, Finland, Serbia, Asia and the US.


Barron International Group, LLC is a privately-owned investment banking firm with a globally-focused client base. The firm’s founder, Lisbeth R. Barron, has spearheaded in excess of $65 billion in ground-breaking strategic advisory and capital-raising transactions throughout her 30+-year career in the Media, Entertainment, Leisure, Hospitality, and Branded Consumer Products industries. Within the Entertainment Sector, Barron has advised on numerous high profile transactions in the Music Publishing, Recorded Music, and Theatricals verticals.


  • Rottweiler says:

    Your headline is not correct, Norman. Boosey is not rolled into Sikorski. Sikorski will be part of the much bigger “unit” Concord, as is Boosey and many many others.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Like all big publishing houses, Boosey got into financial difficulties over the last years, due to increasing overhead costs, expiring copyrights of the Greats, incompetent staff and a shrinking market for new music, as well as the tendency of composers to become self-publishing through new IT technology, and the competition of small ’boutique’ publishers who are more effective and easier to run.

    The times that a classical music publisher was led by people like Ernst Roth, are gone:

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Boosey’s biggest difficulty, John, was the expiry of the Rachmaninov and Strauss copyrights.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Yes….. a big drain of income. But with a big overhead, such gaps may sink the ship.

      • Kolb Slaw says:

        You are incorrect, after Strauss, the biggest earners were Bartok and Ginastera. Acquisition of the Bernstein catalog helped offset those losses.

    • Heini says:

      Incompetent staff? What evidence do you have for that?

      • Ainslie says:

        Ask any librarian of a symphony orchestra for evidence and testimony of the incompetence of B & H’s staff. They are notorious for not answering phones calls, not returning messages and not responding to emails.

        • Ruben Greenberg says:

          Ainslie: That has been my experience with Boosey too. Sheer frustration.

        • Kolb Slaw says:

          No doubt, due to understaffing. The London office keeps New York under a tight rein.

        • Robert von Bahr says:

          Not, repeat NOT, my experience. We have always been expeditiously and well handled by B&H.
          Also, incidentally, Richard Strauss is still in copyright – that expires on Jan 1, 2020.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Let’s say, personal evidence – and experiences by collegues.

        For publishing houses, the formerly attempted balance between artistic and financial considerations has become increasingly difficult, with the result that they have become increasingly commercial. People like the above-mentioned Ernst Roth, who was not only a connaisseur of music, but also of a wider cultural horizon, have become extremely rare and would not be welcomed in a field where artistic / musical considerations are merely considered dangerous stumbling blocks for the budget. Now that the copyrights of the Great are running-out, they hope to find something in new music, but since that territory is completely chaotic and without any reliable standards, staff are at a complete loss about which music could make money and which not. Therefore they rely upon things which are considered ‘popular’ (like John Adams or Philip Glass), or film music stuff, or what ‘people’ think is ‘interesting’ or ‘worthwhile’ in the ‘established’, conventional new music circles (like Tomas Ades), where vested interests don’t have much connection with the classical music performance world. Hence the pumped-up marketing of aggressive feminist sound art like Olga Neuwirth’s which may help the women lib’s cause but not much that of music. The popularity of music like John Adams’, which is brilliant and has an attractive surface, is mainly based upon it’s consumption being not ‘difficult’ like Schoenberg, so rather a default position. Publishers tend to rely upon music which follows such recipes, so that they don’t have to make any assessment themselves – that has become too difficult and time consuming, and would require a level of literacy unavailable for a publisher: nobody with such expertise would want to work for a publisher.

        So, in general, publishing houses are in a difficult position and merely try to survive.

        In the Netherlands, the government has experimented with a state-subsidized publishing company for Dutch music, which worked for a while, but only for the music which was rejected by the performance culture. Selection committees consisting of the very composers who had their works in the catalogue tried their best to keep their privileges intact, untill a newly-appointed director destroyed the organisation through financial corruption and the organisation had to fold. Fortunately, the catalogue was rescued by an ex-employee who turned the company into a commercial one, but inevitably with all the difficulties as ascribed above. So, also help by the state did not work. It is a troubled field altogether.

    • Kolb Slaw says:

      Boosey is not as big an operation as you seem to think. The New York office has always had a fairly small staff. They do not deal with composers who self-publish, they deal with composers who are getting symphonic and operatic performances, because that is where the money is. Sadly, they have never mined their back catalog or kept up with publishing sheet music.

  • Ned Keene says:

    I doubt Giya Kancheli would be best pleased to be named as ‘Russian’ 🙁

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    Boosey has bought up other publishers, and when they do: A: they do nothing to promote the music in the catalogue they have bought. B: Often do not even make the music of the catalogues they have bought available. Thus, I can hardly rejoice at their having taken over the excellent Sikorski. I still believe small is beautiful, especially in the world of publishing.

  • Kolb Slaw says:

    Note that he is referring to their ability to profit from classical music, not its artistic value.