The last Grande Dame of classical recording

We are saddened to learn of the death yesterday of Eva Coutaz, widow of the Harmonia Mundi founder Bernard Coutaz.

Eva was the label’s production director until her retirement in 2016.

She was the last Grande Dame of classical recording.

Statement from HM:
Laurent Didailler, Christian Girardin and Jean-Marc Berns, the musicians and the entire harmonia mundi team sadly announce the death of Eva Coutaz on Tuesday January 26, 2021 at the age of 77 after a brief illness.

She lived in Arles, France after retiring in 2016 following a career spanning nearly 30 years with more than 800 recordings produced for the classical music record label, harmonia mundi.

Her high standards, rigorousness, loyalty to musicians and the consistency with which she built her catalogue were universally recognised and regularly celebrated by the press: harmonia mundi was voted ‘Label of the Year’ on several occasions (by Gramophone, BBC
Music Magazine, Diapason, Classica, Radio Classique, ICMA, Midem) among hundreds of other distinctions around the world.

Her loyalty to the musicians was exceptional; she was a warm presence at every major stage of their artistic and personal journeys. She saw the label as a family united by artistic affinities and the desire to celebrate what she loved above all: music. Her passing leaves an immense void. The whole harmonia mundi team sends their condolences to her friends and family.

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  • I grew up on those 80s HM recordings, many of them premieres, which defined the early music sound of the day. from organum to Lully, Rameau and beyond. The Coutazes were an amazing force in recording.

  • Wonderful lady, a critical part of a wonderful label: nothing but happy memories of working with her and her team. Remember her office at Arles, huge room dominated by massive dog sprawled across the floor, growled at you if you didn’t review HM recordings favourably. RIP, dear Eva

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