Chandos Records

Chandos Records is an English record label for classical music. It was founded in 1979 by Brian Couzens in London, moved its headquarters in 1986 to Colchester, Essex, and is still family-owned. With around 100 shots per year, it is one of the biggest indie labels for classical music world.


The name Chandos goes back to a music club owned by the BBC called Chandos Club, as well as the historical figure of James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. The Duke of Chandos was a patron of the arts, who is known in this context, particularly through the employment of George Frideric Handel as a composer in his residence Cannons in Middlesex.

Chandos Records arises from a music publisher called Chandos Music and the production company Chandos Productions. Chandos Music was founded in 1963 by Brian Couzens and published primarily music for concert band and orchestral works by Gordon Langford and Ernest Tomlinson. The recordings from Chandos Productions were published under the labels Classics for Pleasure, Polydor, Contour and primarily RCA.

The creation of the record label Chandos Records sprang an emergency situation: RCA, whose complete recording activity has been performed at this time of Chandos Productions, joined the London office and the production company remained without jobs. Thereupon, the company turned to the artists who had produced for other companies, and published the recordings in the future about the newly founded label. In November 1979, published Chandos Records seven shots with their most important artists, the first recordings under item no ABR1001: a recording of the composer Ernest Bloch Sacred Service, conducted by Geoffrey Simon.

Chandos has always been a technological pioneer among record labels. In 1978, the company with Gustav Holst The Planets, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Alexander Gibson, their first recorded music in a completely digital process on. In addition, Chandos was among the first label, which released recordings on CD, the first in 1983 2005 Chandos set a new homepage on the Internet, through which all of the company's products catalog -. Already out of print - were made ​​available via download option. In Germany Chandos uses the distribution channel of the company note 1 music GmbH.

Chandos Records is now headed by Ralph Couzens, son of company founder Brian Couzens.


While in the early years of the company their focus was on the recording and dissemination of British music, the catalog has significantly expanded over the years: now include a wide variety of recordings of early music - summarized under the label Chaconne - to contemporary compositions. Their owners come from all over the world, as for example, demonstrates the collaboration with Takashi Yoshimatsu.

Chandos catalog covers - especially in the context of British music - lesser-known composers such as Arnold Bax, Arthur Bliss, George Dyson, Moeran and Rubbra. But even so-called standard repertoire is published by the label; 1984-1986 all Tchaikovsky symphonies were recorded for example with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra under Mariss Jansons. Chandos generally shows a preference for comprehensive editions: William Walton and Percy Grainger has released the label complete recordings of all their works.

The series Opera in English gained great notoriety. With the transfer of Libretti in the English language the opera should be made accessible to a wider audience and in particular to find a new audience in the English-speaking world. 1998 Chandos launched a large-scale with £ 250,000 advertising campaign and spread the slogan Opera did speaks your language. In the series, there are many of the most frequently performed operas in the literature, such as Carmen by Georges Bizet.

Well-known artists who have released recordings with Chandos Records, are among others:




  • Theo Adam
  • Dame Janet Baker
  • Ian Bostridge
  • Richard Davis
  • James Gilchrist
  • Evelyn Glennie
  • Thomas Hampson
  • Simon Keenlyside
  • Felicity Lott
  • Alastair Miles
  • Craig Ogden
  • Mark Padmore
  • Howard Shelley
  • Simon Standage
  • Kiri Te Kanawa
  • John Tomlinson
  • Stephen Varcoe
  • Roger Vignoles
  • Ambrosian Singers
  • BBC Singers
  • Britten Singers
  • Canzonetta
  • Choir of Westminster Abbey
  • Danish National Choir
  • I Fagiolini
  • London Philharmonic Choir
  • London Symphony Chorus
  • Philharmonia Chorus
  • Russian State Symphonic Capella
  • The Sixteen

Prizes and awards

Recordings of the label have received awards from the magazine Gramophone. The Gramophone Awards, there were, among others, for:

  • 2001: Record of the Year for A London Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Richard Hickox under
  • 2003: Best choral recording for a rediscovered exhibition by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
  • 2004: Best orchestral recording for the complete edition of the symphonies of Arnold Bax
  • 2006: Editor's choice award for Songs of the Sea, Op 91 / Songs of the Fleet, Op 117 by Stanford

Furthermore, have won the following recordings of Chandos Grammy:

  • 2006: American Grammy Award for Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten under Richard Hickox
  • 2008: Grammy Award ( Best Opera Recording) for Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck
  • 2008: Grammy Award ( Best Engineered Classical Album ) for Passion Week of Gretschaninow with the Phoenix Chorale

There were nominations, such as for the Classical Brit Critics' Choice Award with a recording of Janáček's The Makropulos Affair, as well as winning the public vote for Gramophone 30 Year Gold Award.