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 blog 9/05/06

Introducing Cedille Records
by Jim Ginsburg on Tue, 09/05/2006 - 2:45am.

As the newest partner in this venture, I thought I would use this first post to introduce Cedille Records and explain what we do.

Founded in 1989, Cedille Records (pronounced “say-DEE”) is the only classical record label based in Chicago (and the first to headquarter here since the heyday of Mercury Living Presence in the 1950s). Cedille is devoted to promoting the efforts of the finest musicians, ensembles, and composers in and from the Chicago area by preserving their work on recordings of the highest possible interest and sound quality. Cedille is also committed to disseminating new compositions and increasing awareness of neglected classical repertory. Happily, these two goals go hand in hand because the Chicago artists we work with tend to be genuinely interested in exploring great music that’s off the beaten path. The rare times we do present “mainstream” classical repertory it’s always in the context of innovative programs that shed new light on those pieces and in performances by musicians who offer distinctive interpretations.

I started Cedille Records while I was in law school at the University of Chicago. I eventually dropped out to run Cedille full time, and subsequently reorganized the label as a not-for-profit recording company in 1994. So for the last 12 years, Cedille has been owned and operated by The Chicago Classical Recording Foundation, which raises grants and contributions to allow Cedille to pursue its community-based artistic mission (revenues from CD sales cover less than 20% of our expenses).
Musicians and ensembles who record on Cedille include violinists Rachel Barton Pine and Jennifer Koh; pianists Dmitry Paperno and Jorge Federico Osorio; composer/pianist Easley Blackwood; duo-pianists Georgia and Louise Mangos; organist/harpsichordist/fortepianist David Schrader; wind soloists Alex Klein (oboe), Mary Stolper (flute), and John Bruce Yeh (clarinet); soprano Patrice Michaels; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Grant Park Orchestra, and Chicago Opera Theater; the Vermeer and Pacifica Quartets; The Chicago Chamber Musicians; the new music ensemble eighth blackbird; and vocal ensembles Chicago a capella and His Majestie’s Clerkes.

The staff of Cedille consists of myself as President, recording engineer Bill Maylone, Business Manager Cindy Ross, Art Director (graphic and web design) Melanie Germond, and Production Manager Nancy Bieschke. We also work closely with local publicist Nathan J. Silverman to promote our recordings, and the musicians represented on them, to print and broadcast media.

Notable recordings from our catalog include (in chronological order):

Easley Blackwood: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5 (Boston Symphony/Charles Munch, Chicago Symphony/James DePreist)

David Diamond Chamber Music (The Chicago Chamber Musicans)

Gian Carlo Menotti: The Medium (Chicago Opera Theater/Lawrence Rapchak)

Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Encore Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Hege)

African Heritage Symphonic Series Vols. I-III (Chicago Sinfonietta/Paul Freeman)

Robert Kurka: The Good Soldier Schweik (Chicago Opera Theater/Alexander Platt)

American Works for Organ and Orchestra (David Schrader, organ; Grant Park Orchestra/Carlos Kalmar)

Brahms & Joachim Violin Concertos (Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Chicago Symphony/Carlos Kalmar)

Symphonic Works by Robert Kurka (Grant Park Orchestra/Carlos Kalmar)

Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets (Pacifica Quartet)

fred (music by Frederic Rzewski) (eighth blackbird)

Our most recent releases include a CD spanning 50 years of music by the late Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004) (various artists including Chicago Sinfonietta/Freeman); gorgeous turn-of-the-century chamber works by forgotten composers Josef Labor (1842-1924) and Walter Rabl (1873-1940) (Orion Ensemble); two new discs with the Grant Park Orchestra conducted by Carlos Kalmar: Portraits -- Violin Concertos by Syzmanowski, Martinu, and Bartok, with violin soloist Jennifer Koh, and a CD of American Orchestral Works featuring first recordings of music by five contemporary composers; and our brand new CD with the Pacifica Quartet, titled Declarations, featuring quartets from the 1920s and 30s by Hindemith, Janacek, and Ruth Crawford Seeger.