Your favourite classical artist? There’s money in it

Your favourite classical artist? There’s money in it


norman lebrecht

November 23, 2020

Universal Music is offering vouchers for voters in its UDiscover Classical 100.

Lemme think.


Tough call.

Vote here.


press release:
November 23, 2020 (London, UK) – A brand new global poll is launching to find today’s best-loved classical musician. The uDiscover Classical 100 is the first of its kind – a major international initiative, offering fans worldwide the chance to vote for their favourite living artist via a newly-created online portal:<>

Based on global sales data, The uDiscover Classical 100 offers a shortlist of 100 of the best-selling living classical artists to vote for. Among the contenders are superstar pianists Lang Lang and Yuja Wang, cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, composers John Williams and Max Richter, as well as singers Andrea Bocelli and Renée Fleming.

The uDiscover Classical 100 aims to shine a light on today’s leading musicians, from established conductors like Sir Simon Rattle and Gustavo Dudamel to ground-breaking young artists like Nicola Benedetti and Víkingur Ólafsson. Their recordings and performances have been acclaimed worldwide, but never before have they been celebrated in this way.

Sam Jackson, Executive Vice President of Global Classics and Jazz, Universal Music Group, comments: “Charts that focus on repertoire or composers are well established in the classical music world, but this is the first time a global poll has been created to confirm the world’s favourite classical artist. The uDiscover Classical 100 offers a chance to set this right, as we invite thousands of music fans across the globe to vote for the performers whose recordings and artistry they admire the most.”


  • Where’s Kavakos????????

  • A.L. says:

    That peculiar smell of despair …..

  • Ivan Fischer is not there… Same situation for Petrenko I suppose they deserve this situation…

  • The View from America says:

    What a curious grouping of people. As if we didn’t know what the criteria were for inclusion …


    • V.Lind says:

      The criteria are stated, if you look. I was reeling from the inclusion of Rieu (as a violinist) but not Zukerman, and the inclusion of Katherine Jenkins and Sarah Brightman, till I found the parameters: sales.

      Toyed with entering until I looked at the products for sale on the site, and found nothing that appealed except an Elton John jigsaw.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        Dear Ms. Lind,
        As usual, you hit the nail on the head.
        My local classical FM station (the last remaining of the three I grew up with here in the SF Bay Area) recently ran a promotion for the “100 Favorite Works”. It was all run through social media, so I couldn’t participate, since I don’t do social media.
        The works they have been playing since the promotion are precisely the same as the ones they played before it – very heavy on Vivaldi concerti and Haydn symphonies and very light on the 20th-21st c.
        It was all about likes and social media traffic, and selling CDs of Vivaldi and Haydn through their website.

        • V.Lind says:

          Aside from the Gloria I could cheerfully live without Vivaldi. (And do). But I’m a Haydn lover — I always think “Oh, God, not Haydn AGAIN” when I see there’s a piece on a programme, and I always end up loving it — usually more than whatever I went to the concert to hear in the first place.

          Like you, I have zero to do with social media.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Why do we so often need to talk about non-classical musicians who don’t belong there, or others who stir controversy?

    The list includes plenty of eminent musicians like Brendel, Perahia or Haitink.


    Doesn’t this gang get enough adulation without this ****?

  • Mock Mahler says:

    The fact that the organizers’ press release singles out a dozen from the 100, designating some ‘superstars’ among them, should of course have no effect on the result.

  • CWang says:

    Unfortunately, most of my favorites are already dead. Aptly named “uDiscover Classical 100” because that’s about the same number of Classical Music CDs Universal will sell this year.

  • Bloom says:

    Now, all fan /groupie clubs , pay attention. One, two, three, go!

  • Firing Back says:

    Not that Universal is in trouble, or anything…

    Sam Jackson is either trolling us all, or else his tongue was firmly in his cheek as he issued the statement.


  • Anon says:

    There are an awful lot of ‘meh’ names in that list
    Possibly bought & paid for, like their recordings *cough, cough*

  • Bill says:

    where are the violists???

  • Fan says:

    I guess it’s an ingenious way to force those musicians advertise for you without having to pay them extra money.

    What really needs to be celebrated are those important l, interesting but little known artists, especially those without a significant recording legacy: not all great performers are prolific recording artists.

  • Dijon says:

    What a complete load of b*****ks…those are just artists with massive PR budgets….not in the real world, and certainly nowhere near the best classical musicians in the world!

  • John MacGregor says:

    Dear Mr Lebrecht
    May I suggest that your readership must be amongst the most classically ( music ) aware. May I suggest you hold a competition where your readers can select their favorite performer. Only one choice per reader. Interesting comparison it would make to a chart made up from one compiled by records sold!