The Ninth Decade (1980–1989)

Giuseppe Sinopoli conducts his first Deutsche Grammophon recording in 1980 – and three years later signs the first of several long-term exclusive recording-agreements, resulting in a complete Mahler-cycle with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Bruckner symphonies with the Dresden Staatskapelle, and several opera projects. James Levine becomes an exclusive DG artist in 1987, making recordings including Mozart’s complete symphonies and violin concertos with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Itzhak Perlman and the Metropolitan Opera production of Wagner’s Ring. The label’s three premiere pianists following Kempff’s retirement, Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, and Krystian Zimerman, all make distinguished recordings with repertoire that Kempff generally avoided, particularly Chopin, Liszt, and music of the 20th century. Ivo Pogorelich begins recordings in 1981. Two elder statesmen of the keyboard come to Deutsche Grammophon: Rudolf Serkin in 1981 and Vladimir Horowitz – the latter releases five successful discs between 1985 and 1989. A younger generation of artists begins to join the label, including singers (Kathleen Battle, 1984; Anne Sofie von Otter, 1985; then later, Bryn Terfel, 1993; and Thomas Quasthoff, 1999), instrumentalists (cellist Mischa Maisky, 1982; pianist Maria João Pires, 1989), string quartets (Hagen, 1985; Emerson, 1987), and orchestras (Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, 1985). At the end of 1984 Siemens sells 40% of its half share in PolyGram International to Philips, who later buys the remaining 10% in 1987. In 1986 the Hanover factories – the first and largest producers of CDs – are taken over from PolyGram by Philips as part of a Hanover factories joint venture with the chemical company, DuPont; Hanover remains the label’s most important supplier. In 1987 DG, with its sister PolyGram labels Philips and Decca, begins to ­release videocassettes and laser discs of mainly ­concert and opera recordings licensed from Unitel, entering a new era of video recordings of classical music.

Artists Joining

  • Valery Afanassiev
  • Francisco Araiza
  • Kathleen Battle
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Hildegard Behrens
  • Barbara Bonney
  • Stanislav Bunin
  • Riccardo Chailly
  • Chamber Orchestra of
  • Europe
  • Kyung-Wha Chung
  • Emerson String Quartet
  • Maria Ewing
  • Gothenburg Symphony
  • Orchestra
  • Edita Gruberova
  • Jerry Hadley
  • Hagen Quartett
  • Thomas Hampson
  • Vladimir Horowitz
  • Neeme Järvi
  • Siegfried Jerusalem
  • Gidon Kremer
  • Philip Langridge
  • James Levine
  • Marjana Lipovs?ek
  • Witold Lutos?awski
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Mischa Maisky
  • Shlomo Mintz
  • James Morris
  • New York Philharmonic
  • Orchestra
  • Jessye Norman
  • Leo Nucci
  • Orpheus Chamber Orchestra