Death of an EMI legend

Death of an EMI legend


norman lebrecht

August 26, 2021

We are informed that the veteran producer Brian Culverhouse died on Sunday at home aged 93, after
a prolonged dementia.

Brian joined the International Artists Department of EMI in November 1949. He produced numerous recordings with George Weldon, Sir Charles Mackerras, Dame Myra Hess and Nicolai Malko.

On becoming the Classical Producer for EMI UK in September 1963 he worked with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Louis Frémaux, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Constantin Silvestri, the Scottish National Orchestra under Sir Alexander Gibson and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Charles Groves. He also created and supervised the 19 LPS which comprised the “Great Cathedral Organ” series and the 5 discs which were made of the “Treasury of English Church Music”. He enjoyed a harmonious relationship with Lt.-Col. Vivian Dunn and the Band of the Royal Marines School of Music

Leaving EMI in December 1971 he formed Brian Culverhouse Productions and worked for various labels: Chandos, RCA, Classics for Pleasure, EMI Classics, Decca, DG, Contour, Chalfont, Nimbus, Unicorn-Kanchana and ASV. He retired in 2003.




  • Michael Turner (conductor) says:

    He was responsible for a superb catalogue of work. RIP.

    • Michael Turner (viola) says:

      Agreed. Brian was a true gentleman of the recording business. I had no idea he had worked in Bournemouth in the Silvestri heyday. RIP, as my namesake says.

  • Homeward says:

    RIP. Is there any literature on the history of the classical recording industry, particularly post-War?

  • Armchair Bard says:

    Lovely chap (and I say that not just because he would send me a case of wine every Christmas). Brian showed a real, sometimes pathbreaking flair for A&R both during and after his time at EMI.

    There, for instance, he recorded the Moeran symphony with Dilkes; the ‘Irish’ symphonies of Stanford and Sullivan under Del Mar and Groves; British Light Music with Weldon; and Silvestri’s benchmark account of In the South.

    Later, there was Richard Rodney Bennett (in Gershwin, Mayerl, the Lambert concerto) and Anthony Rolfe Johnson (his first recordings, incl. the première of RVW’s House of Life, on two LPs that became sought-after rarities before their eventual CD release on EMI).

    Brian also had a fine ear for an acoustic: witness the 1975 ‘Enigma’ he did with Norman Del Mar in Guildford Cathedral. This was such an instant hit with the critics that DG promptly deleted the initial budget release and reissued at a higher price. True.

    Many of the recordings he made as Brian Culverhouse Productions continued to be reissued and still remain available under licence to EMI in its British Composers series. Whence the cases of wine. Thank you, Brian!