Obituary: British record producer and Chandos founder Brian Couzens, 82

Posted on: May 1, 2015

Published Tuesday (4/28) on is an appreciation by Phil Sommerich about recording engineer, producer, and Chandos Records founder Brian Couzens, who died April 17 at 82. Sommerich writes, “The business of recording classical music is not short of people who blend fiery enthusiasm with musicality. But even within that group Brian Couzens … stood out.” After founding Chandos Records in 1979, he “steered the label through some of the recording industry’s most turbulent times … regularly winning international awards for audio quality as well as musical excellence.” Chandos championed such conductors as Richard Hickox, Mariss Jansons, and Alexander Gibson, and “rescued from neglect works by British composers ranging from William Alwyn and Malcolm Arnold to Edmund Rubbra and Arthur Sullivan…. A shorter but equally spectacular partnership saw Chandos release in 1984 an album of Elgar chamber works with the 28-year-old violinist Nigel Kennedy and the pianist Peter Pettinger. The reviews were so enthusiastic that Kennedy was snapped up by EMI.” Under Couzens, the label also became “a digital pioneer, releasing its first CD in 1983, in 2005 becoming the first classical label to offer downloads, and subsequently setting up a retail website, The Classical Shop, which today offers nearly two million tracks from more than 270 labels.”

Posted May 1, 2015