Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim agreed a wide-ranging recording agreement with Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics.

Barenboim is music director of Berlin's Staatsoper and Staatskapelle and maestro scaligero at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, with projects including a new Ring production at both houses.

There are extensive plans in place beyond 2012 with the labels, including Barenboim's first-ever recordings of the Chopin and Liszt piano concertos, a new Beethoven symphony cycle with his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, as well as several solo piano recordings.

Many of these recordings are co-produced by Daniel Barenboim's long-term audiovisual production partner UNITEL.

The first releases on Deutsche Grammophon, in early 2011, will be devoted to Chopin: a solo recital recorded in Warsaw as well as the two concertos with Barenboim accompanied by the Berlin Staatskapelle under Andris Nelsons.

Later in the year, a new recording with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will appear on Decca Classics to coincide with their annual tour: Tchaikovsky's "Pathétique" Symphony and Schoenberg's Variations for Orchestra.

2011 is also the Liszt bicentenary year, and Deutsche Grammophon will release Barenboim's first recording of the two concertos, with Pierre Boulez conducting the Berlin Staatskapelle, together with solo piano works, some of them debut recordings for Barenboim.

"What makes me particularly happy is that this unique collaboration allows me to prioritize my work with the Staatskapelle and the West-Eastern Divan in equal measure," said Barenboim in a statement.

Max Hole, COO, Universal Music Group International, added: "We are honored that Daniel Barenboim has decided to make Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics the homes for his new recordings and new projects, to add to his already extraordinary body of work. We fully appreciate and share his vision of the future of classical music, to reinvigorate and strengthen it, and to reach for new audiences. Daniel is one of the world's most inspiring individuals. There is no better ambassador for music."

Michael Lang, president, Deutsche Grammophon, and Paul Moseley, GM, Decca Classics, will lead their respective labels' association with Barenboim.

Deutsche Grammophon renews a collaboration with the artist which previously yielded recordings of solo music by Beethoven, Chopin and Mendelssohn, and of orchestral works by Bruckner, Debussy and Ravel. For Decca Classics, it is a brand new collaboration.

Frank Briegmann, president of Universal Music Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Deutsche Grammophon, will play a lead role in shaping the company's plans with Barenboim.

The partnership will also include new business projects to reinvigorate the classical genre, under the direction of Florence Siebert, VP, business development, classical, for Universal Music Group International.

New Classical Signings, Appointments

The deal with Barenboim follows a wave of recent executive appointments and artist signings at Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics.

Classical music teams from Universal Music companies in more than 20 countries recently gathered in London to plan A&R, marketing and business development strategies.

At the conference, Max Hole announced two new appointments to Universal Music's senior classical management team -- Lut Behiels, who takes on the role of director, classical marketing, and Barry Holden, who becomes director, classical catalogue.

Prior to taking up their new posts, Behiels' worked as head of international marketing and promotion for Deutsche Grammophon; Holden was the former head of marketing at independent classical label Naxos.

Based in London, Behiels and Holden will work alongside Costa Pilavachi, senior VP, classical artists & repertoire; Florence Siebert; and Hamburg-based Marek Filipiak, recently promoted to the new position of CFO for the classical management division.

Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and American cellist Alisa Weilerstein are among the latest signings to Decca Classics. Armenian violinist Mikhail Simonyan has also inked a label deal with Deutsche Grammophon, which is currently preparing debut albums by German soprano Mojca Erdmann and Montenegran guitarist Milo Karadaglic.

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