Warner clarifies future of EMI and Virgin Classics artists

The two historic labels to be absorbed into Warner Classics and Erato

Alison BalsomWarner Classics has announced that the artists and catalogue of EMI and Virgin Classics, labels it acquired in February this year, will be taken over by the Warner Classics and Erato labels respectively.

Warner bought EMI Classics and Parlophone earlier this year but until now it had not been clear what would happen to the EMI and Virgin Classics artists, or indeed to the labels themselves.

Current artists on EMI Classics include trumpeter Alison Balsom, conductor Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic; Virgin Classics, meanwhile, is the recording home for mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and the conductor Emmanuelle Haïm and the BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Year Award-winner pianist Piotr Anderszewski.

The news was announced in a statement posted on EMI Classics’s Twitter page. It said: ‘This move marks the next exciting chapter and new momentum for these renowned artists and legendary catalogues within Warner Music Group, where this is – and will continue to be – a deep focus on classical repertoire.’

In April, Warner CEO Steve Cooper had suggested, in a leaked internal memo, that artists from EMI and Virgin Classics might be absorbed into a new brand. He said: ‘We intend to be ambitious and innovative custodians of this revered catalogue and will strive to create the first-choice home for contemporary classical talent.’

Polly Bartlett