One of the leading classical music labels in the world, Pentatone presents a diverse range of world-class artists, and is dedicated to premium quality productions captured in exceptional sound. The label works together with today and tomorrow’s leading artists to provide timeless recordings of core, fringe, and lesser-known repertoire, with Pentatone’s uncompromising attention to the best possible quality in artistry, design and recording technology.
The label was founded in the Netherlands in 2001 by three former Philips Classics executives, with the ambition to offer classical music in the highest quality including surround sound.
In its first years, Pentatone engaged Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton and Sophia Loren, in a Grammy-winning recording of Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf (released in Spanish with Antonio Banderas), with Kent Nagano conducting the Russian National Orchestra. Another early success was a recording of the official music performed during the wedding ceremony of the then Dutch crown prince (now king) Willem-Alexander to Máxima Zorreguieta. The Music from the Royal Wedding, sold more than 75,000 copies, thereby attaining the unique “triple platinum” status in the Netherlands.
During its first decade, the label released several award-winning recordings with violinist Julia Fischer and several complete cycles: Beethoven’s symphonies conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, Beethoven’s piano sonatas performed by Mari Kodama, and Bruckner’s symphonies under the baton of Marek Janowski. Violinist Arabella Steinbacher left her mark on these years and continues with several acclaimed recordings. Later, Pentatone recorded Wagner’s ten mature operas, the only such label to take on this task in the 21st century.
From 2013, with a new management team, the label focused on embracing the digital era and expanding its repertoire. New artists and ensembles defined the label’s second decade, including conductors Vladimir Jurowski, René Jacobs and Esa-Pekka Salonen, singers Piotr Beczala, Lisette Oropesa, Javier Camarena, Ian Bostridge and Magdalena Kožená, pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Francesco Piemontesi, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, as well as the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Czech Philharmonic.
In recent years, Pentatone has won multiple awards. In 2017, John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles won Best Opera Recording and Best Engineered Album at the 59th Grammy Awards. Two years later, the premiere recording of the Mason Bates opera, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, won a Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Pentatone was awarded Label of the Year in 2019 by Gramophone Magazine and in 2020 by the International Classical Music Awards. Pentatone’s third decade promises to be even more exciting and innovative as we expand our growing and diverse roster of artists, producing the most thrilling recordings in the world.
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