“It points to a vision of a broader and more unified approach to the classical music ecosystem, one that historically has walled off different sides of the business from one another.“Sean Hickey
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s acquisition in May of the Dutch label PENTATONE, added to their acquisition of New York/Berlin-based Opus 3 Artists in October 2020, creates a unique platform for the conservatory’s already formidable array of professional music education resources and opportunities. It expands the range of skills students can learn through actual projects, complementing classroom work, and promises to provide tools for community action and arts advocacy. It is an indicator of an appetite for ambition and innovation among investors with cultural portfolios.
For PENTATONE’s managing director, Sean Hickey, the acquisition allows the label to explore areas “that we couldn’t manage to do on our own,” have access to SFCM’s state of the art Bowes Center and its extensive recording facilities, and to tap into the student body. “It points to a vision of a broader and more unified approach to the classical music ecosystem,” he says, “one that historically has walled off different sides of the business from one another.” He might have added that the United States is the market leader in both total aggregate numbers and percentage of overall music consumption via streaming.
Soon after the papers were signed, PENTATONE announced that the first new recordings to be made in San Francisco under the new ownership would be in June at Davies Symphony Hall: The San Francisco Opera’s new music director Eun Sun Kim conducting the National Brass Ensemble in music by Wagner, Strauss, Arturo Sandoval, and Jonathan Bingham, and the San Francisco Symphony’s Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting Bartók’s First and Third Piano Concertos with Pierre-Laurent Aimard.
“Pentatone already had a close connection to the conservatory and was a natural partner. The label’s commitment to working with the best American artists and growing its catalog of American repertoire fits in alongside the agency’s priority that their artists have robust touring calendars and build their careers with a strong public profile with performance activities and labels.”David H. Stull