Biz news: Executive shakeup at Decca

Biz news: Executive shakeup at Decca


norman lebrecht

February 21, 2020

There’s been a reshuffle at the label after the surprise departure of classical chief Alex Buhr.

Tom Lewis and Laura Monks become co-managing directors, under president Rebecca Allen.

Dominic Fyfe is the new label director of Decca Classics; Helen Lewis is executive producer at Decca Classics; Gavin Bayliss is head of classical marketing & catalogue strategy. All are long-timers.


  • Fliszt says:

    So typical of that industry, they just keep rearranging deck-chairs on the Titanic…

  • Miguel Cervantes says:

    Do any of those classical music labels actually make money?

  • Tim says:

    I can’t think of anything good this company has done in recent memory.

    Honestly, my overriding perception of Decca is that they’ve signed what would once have been considered crossover artists and then over promoted them as straight classical artists.

    To their gain, I’m sure, but in the long run what has it done for the industry at large? It cheapens and dumbs down everything.

  • john says:

    It is totally irrelevant who is in charge. DECCA has a wonderful back-catalogue, created by people who knew their business. This in not the case anymore, the other labels are in the same position. DECCA does not answer mails, they are not interested in communicating with their customers, the only relevant mail adress on their website leads to UNSUBSCRIBE, no other priorities there. The customer is not important. This is terrible. marketingVery sad. Although the challenge for the industry has changed,
    there should be more engagement. How about starting communicating with the customers ?????

    • Fliszt says:

      Because the customers only write in to tell the ignorant, fragile goes in charge how stupid they are, so the major labels shun communication from their customers.

    • Robert Kenchington says:

      I agree with John because I’ve had the same experience with Decca for years. It’s a record company, not a spy network.Yet I often think I’m dealing with Porton Down or Bletchley Park such their secrecy and off hand attitude to what are – at least on my part – routine customer queries. Indeed, sometimes I offer helpful suggestions regarding catalogue reissues based on ideas and requests from MY customers which might in turn help Decca – and DG for that matter – make money for themselves and satisfy collectors at the same time. Alas, they simply don’t get the message. There are in their defence, some talented people working on catalogue releases – which remain among the best on the market. But the weak link in the chain of command is – and has been for many years – the sales representatives, the very people who should be the backbone of the operation. I can remember the legendary Mike Gardner who went out to visit his customers, brought sales sheets, catalogues and brochures and even took the trouble to hunt down deletions. A wonderful man who listened to ideas and had plenty to share himself. Now, the young interns who have taken his place remain office-bound clerks pumping out prepackaged emails written by someone else in an office in Paris or Berlin. And very often by the time I get these, I’ve already found out about the product from websites in Australia or Japan! Contact via the telephone is also hopeless. The last time I rang anyone I found they knew less about the product than I did and were only too anxious to get me off the line. Distribution staff I have to say are always helpful and it’s usually via them I get to find out what’s coming up and when- but then they’re not actually part of the classical department at Decca where – for at least a decade now – the human touch is most palpably lacking.

  • fflambeau says:

    This has nothing to do with Beethoven so forgive me. But it does have something to do with these kind of historical and comparative essays which I very much enjoy. So keep them coming.

    I’ve been listening to many versions of Richard Strauss’s masterpiece, “Tod und Verklärung”,generally translated as “Death and Transfiguration”. A better translation might be “Death and Englightenment” because 1) the German verb “verklären” means “to shine light on”, hence “enlightenment”. 2) Strauss and his friends were big fans of the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenauer, who in turn was influenced by Eastern religions and the Buddhist notion of rebirth.

    From all the versions I’ve heard on Youtube, the 3 best, for me, are 1) Otto Klemperer’s. (Who was also famous for his Beethoven interpretations). Note that he is generally seen to favor slow tempi but his recording with the Philharmonia Orchestra is 6 minutes faster than my 2nd choice. That is by Serge Celibidache and the SWGerman Radio Orchestra. It is a magesterial and commanding performance. It builds tension and draws it out. In third place: George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra (also on the fast side). A superb reading with a famous orchestra.

    I find Zinman is also good (but on the predictable, fast side) and Karijan is not so good, in my opinion. The idea of listening and comparing, for individual tastes, is a good one. Keep it up.