Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gallery Players seeking funding for new CD project

There was a time, a long, long time ago it seems, artists would be signed by record companies and would record CDs the companies would market on their behalf.  Not any more, at least not all that often for classical artists, at least.

Consider the halcyon days when Columbia (now Sony) RCA (later BMG and now part of Sony) and many other major labels had entire divisions devoted to acquiring and recording classical artists.  Even if you didn't score a deal with a major label, you could often score with a smaller, more adventurous label willing to take a chance on a group or individual not necessarily considered a major draw.

Those days are indeed gone.  With the advent of the Internet and by extension music downloading, record companies, rightly or wrongly, cut loose a lot of great classical artists who now no longer have recording contracts.  Think of Toronto-based Tafelmusik and their major deal years ago with Sony Classical's period-instrument offshoot label Vivarte.  I attended the launch of their first four CDs all at once (unheard of today!) at a splashy event in downtown Toronto about 20 years ago.  Or consider the venerable Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM), long a classical-music powerhouse for the British label Decca.  That was until the 90s when even the mighty OSM with Charles Dutoit lost their lucrative recording contract.

The Toronto Symphony?  They have not had a long-term recording contract in decades, it seems.  They issued lots of great recordings on EMI Classics (now gone) and of course CBC Records, but overall, the TSO has had a hit-and-miss relationship with the recording studio.

Smaller groups and individual artists fared a little better, it seems, at least for a little while, but eventually many of them too had trouble getting recording deals with labels.

Enter Naxos, the little classical music label that could, and now is a major player in the classical music recording field.  Their business model is different from other labels and they have thrived from that arrangement.  Many individual artists, small ensembles and even larger groups such as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra have benefitted from recording deals with Naxos.  They don't make as much money, but at least they get to record and that is important.

In many cases, larger ensembles form their own labels, as has been the case with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO Records) and more locally, Tafelmusik (Tafelmusik).  But what of those artists who don't have the wherewithal to form a label and market their own product like some of the bigger orchestras are doing?

In many cases, they find backers and issue their own recordings on their own small labels.  Thanks to modern recording techniques, equipment levels are not as cumbersome as they once were:  an individual artist could even set up a studio in his home if he or she really wanted to.  And some do.

But for many others, they have another option now at their disposal, and for them, crowdsourcing is the way to go.  When you talk crowdsourcing sites, you are usually referring to Indiegogo, where you can set up a campaign that invites investors to come on board and help finance a project, and they often receive perks in return.

The latest local group to go that route is Gallery Players, who launched their campaign last month and in the first 10 days had 17 funders already on board.  As of this week, the number was up to 57, bringing them to 54% of their goal.  The campaign to help fund their 20th anniversary CD project wraps up April 12th, so there is still time to jump on board and support Gallery Players should you wish to.

One of the recordings to be included on the new CD will be Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe, which they performed in January with Brett Polegato at Rodman Hall.  If you want to look further into their campaign and perhaps even become a funder yourself, go to:

There, you can find out more about their campaign and the 20th anniversary CD project currently underway.

The Gallery Players will be presenting The Vesuvius Ensemble next April 6th at 2 pm at St. Barnabas Church on Queenston Street, and the concert is appropriately entitled "In the Shadow of the Volcano."  Gallery Players Artistic Director Margaret Gay is featured on cello, along with Francesco Pellegrino, Marco Cera and Ben Grossman.  The music of sunny Naples from the Renaissance and Baroque periods will be featured.  You can be sure they will be pushing the 20th anniversary CD project as well as the final days count down to the end of the campaign.

For tickets to the concert, call The Gallery Players at 905-468-1525 or go online to

Enjoy some great music and support a great cause, too!

March 22nd, 2014

No comments: