Hong Kong classical music brand Naxos celebrates 25 years

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 3:06am

Naxos, the recording label that put Hong Kong on the global classical music map, celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Asia Society hall in Admiralty.

Since 1987, the budget-price but quality-assured brand has competed - some say miraculously - with established recording empires that dominate the market with their stars and long-held connections.

Despite its global success, few in the West know of its local origin, including Michael Lynch, chief executive of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. "When I came here 16 months ago, I didn't know that Naxos was based in this wonderful city. I have felt very guilty ever since," he told guests at the Wednesday gala, adding he took "great inspiration" from Naxos for "my vision to realise West Kowloon".

Klaus Heymann, the chairman of Naxos, said he did not have a grand vision at the beginning, but "one thing led to another", and the rest is history.

"At the beginning I didn't do it alone, it's a mum-and- dad company, with mum playing the fiddle," said Heymann, referring to his wife, Takako Nishizaki, a renowned violinist and Naxos' founder-artist.

Heymann, Nishizaki and their son Rick hosted a litany of the city's musical luminaries including Tom Lee music chain president Frank Lee, BW Group chairman Helmut Sohmen, Hong Kong Philharmonic chairman Y.S. Liu, and chief executive Michael MacLeod. Also present were City Chamber Orchestra founder Leanne Nicholls, Hong Kong composer Chan Wing-wah, and Queensland Ballet conductor Andrew Mogrelia.