Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest Post: Introducing Bridge Records

Guest post by Rob Starobin, vice president of Bridge Records,  an independent record label based in New Rochelle, New York that specializes in 20th century classical music. To date, Bridge Records has been nominated for more than 20 Grammy Awards, and has received 3 - a 2001 Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition for George Crumb's Star-Child, a 2007 Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Recording for Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's performance of Peter Lieberson's Rilke Songs and Garrick Ohlsson's recording of Beethoven sonatas (volume 3) won a 2008 Grammy award for best instrumental solo performance.

Rob on the Iron Throne

Thanks for having me guest here, Ulysses - I’m a big fan of your work in popularizing Spotify for classical and new music.  We’re at a very exciting, and somewhat terrifying time for music producers, as distribution has shifted from being solely physical, to permanent downloads, and now to streaming on demand services, like Spotify. I can’t claim to know the future, or speak for everyone at Bridge, but my personal listening habits have changed immensely since I first acquired a Spotify account. While reading Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise, I could search any of the pieces being mentioned and listen to a dozen recordings of them without having to limit myself to 30 second samples, or break my wallet buying far too many discs on a whim. I’m very excited to see how Spotify contends with classical music going forward, and I feel like better discovery tools and metadata apps will be the next major leap forward in the software.

And now, to introduce what we produce at Bridge! Ulysses has already covered our Complete Crumb series and Music of Elliott Carter series very well here, so I’ll gloss over them, and talk about some of the other projects that Bridge is best known for, in a catalog that’s now nearly 400 titles.

Danish composer Poul Ruders is probably most known for his operas. Our Music of Poul Ruders series is up to seven discs, with a Kickstarter project in progress to help fund volume eight.

Rolf Schulte and the Riverside Symphony play his Violin Concerto, conducted by George Rothman:

Ruders writes for the exotic combination of accordion and string quartet with the Carl Sagan-influenced Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean. Mikko Luoma, iO String Quartet:

Bridge is devoted to presenting exceptionally gifted young performers. Soprano Susanna Phillips is at the beginning of what is sure to be a stellar career, with performances at the Metropolitan Opera and the Chicago Lyric Opera. She and accompanist Myra Huang recorded a recital disc of French song, Paysages:

In the 90’s, Bridge signed an agreement with the Library of Congress, allowing us to work with their archival concert recordings to produce remastered versions of performances by great artists, including Nathan Milstein, Samuel Barber, Leontyne Price and the Budapest Quartet. Bridge's cycle of Beethoven String Quartets performed by the Budapest Quartet was completed earlier this year with the release of the six early quartets.

Bridge's founder, guitarist David Starobin (full disclosure, he's also my father) has made a mark in the world of both 19th century and modern guitar repertoire:

Reverie by Giulio Regondi:

Semi-Suite by Paul Lansky:

Bridge has released a number of recordings by America's first International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition winner Garrick Ohlsson, including a complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas:

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sings her late husband Peter Lieberson's Rilke Songs:

Get above works in one Spotify playlist here: Bridge for Spotify Classical (33 tracks, total time: 2 hours) Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. And browse Rob's Spotify profile for more exciting Bridge stuff.

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