The San Francisco Conservatory of Music Acquires PENTATONE Label

The acquisition will enable students and artists to benefit from both organization's recording resources and network

SFCM's Studio G (Photo courtesy: SFCM)


PENTATONE will join the collaborative efforts of The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) and management company Opus 3 Artists, the latter of which was acquired by the conservatory in October 2020.

As a trio, SFCM, Opus 3 Artists, and PENTATONE aim to "reimagine the model for professional music education and to invent the performance experience of the future."

PENTATONE is based in Baarn, Netherlands, and will continue to operate as an independent company. PENTATONE's artists now have access to SFCM’s recording studio in the Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts in San Francisco’s Civic Center Arts District. This Studio G is adjacent to the Conservatory’s multipurpose, black box Technology Hall — both of which were inaugurated in November 2021.

Engineers, orchestral talent, educational resources, masterclasses, and professional development sessions will be shared between the conservatory and label. In addition, the PENTATONE team will go to the SF campus to participate in a project during the Conservatory’s 2023 Winter Term, resulting in the release of an album.

“Bringing PENTATONE in–house creates an extraordinary backdrop to explore new ideas for performing, recording and distributing music," said SFCM President David Stull. "For the first time, professional artists have access to a research and development engine in the form of SFCM’s students and PENTATONE’s skill and creativity producing musical experiences of quality and enduring importance."

As one of the partnership's first projects, PENTATONE will record and release performance by the National Brass Ensemble during [email protected]’s National Brass Ensemble Academy. The performance will be conducted by San Francisco Opera Music Director Eun Sun Kim inside the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. The release will include the debut of a commission by Jonathan Bingham, a winner of the Emerging Black Composers Project sponsored partly by SFCM and the S.F. Symphony.

“The team at PENTATONE is excited for the potential that comes with a profound partnership with SFCM and the constituent companies of its larger organization,” said PENTATONE Managing Director Sean Hickey. "The record industry is changing drastically and now is a good time for one of the largest and most–celebrated independent classical labels to forge deeper and more strategic partnerships.”

Awarded “Label of the Year” in 2019 by Gramophone magazine and in 2020 by the International Classical Music Awards, PENTATONE is known for its recordings by pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Denis Kozhukhin, cellists Alisa Weilerstein and Johannes Moser, vocalists Magdalena Kožená, Ian Bostridge and Piotr Beczała and ensembles including the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.