Thursday’s (6/3) Daily Telegraph (London) reports, “Bernard Coutaz, who has died aged 87, was the founder of Harmonia Mundi, an independent French record label that for more than 50 years has kept the major classical music companies on their toes. He attracted many of the best names in classical music, several of whom came to his fold to lick their wounds after being bruised elsewhere. Alfred Deller led the roster until his death in 1979; others include the baritone Matthias Goerne, the American a cappella group Anonymous Four and the conductor William Christie. … Harmonia Mundi was originally established in Paris, but within four years Coutaz had moved it to rural Saint-Michel de Provence, and later to a converted farmhouse in Arles, a bullfighting town situated four hours by train south of the French capital. A London subsidiary was founded in 1981, followed by offices in Germany and the United States. Harmonia Mundi soon outgrew the Baroque. Today Bruckner and Boulez also sit in the catalogue, alongside a series of award-winning Mozart operas. Nor did the label restrict itself to French artists. The violinist Andrew Manze and the pianist Paul Lewis are among a strong British contingent.”

Posted June 3, 2010