Chandos Records was founded in 1979 by Brian Couzens and quickly established itself as one of the world's leading classical labels. Prior to forming the label, Brian Couzens, along with his son Ralph, worked for 8 years running a mobile recording unit recording for major labels (including RCA, Polydor, CFP, etc.) with many of the world's leading artists.
The company has championed rare and neglected repertoire, filling in many gaps in the record catalogues. Initially focussing on British composers (Alwyn, Bax, Bliss, Dyso, Moeran, Rubbra, Walton etc), it subsequently embraced a much wider field. Chandos' diverse catalogue contains over 2000 titles, from early music to contemporary, with composers from around the world. The company's aim is to present an exciting and varied selection of superbly recorded music to as many people as possible.
The following artists are strongly associated with, or exclusive to, the label: Richard Hickox, Matthias Bamert, I Fagiolini, Neeme Järvi, Louis Lortie, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Rumon Gamba, James Ehnes, Sir Charles Mackerras, David Parry, Valeri Polyansky, The Purcell Quartet, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Howard Shelley, Simon Standage, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Vernon Handley, the BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the City of London Sinfonia and Collegium Muscium 90.
Chandos is universally acclaimed for the excellence of its sound quality and has always been at the forefront of technical innovation. In 1978, Chandos was one of the first to record in 16bit/44.1kHz PCM digital, as well as being one of the first to edit a digital recording completely in the digital domain (Holst: the Planet ? SNO/Gibson). In 1983, Chandos was one of the first to produce and release Compact Discs into the marketplace ? a revolution in the recorded music industry.
Today, Chandos has kept up with technology by recording mostly in 24bit/96kHz PCM but now also in DSD for producing ?surround sound? SACDs. Chandos releases at least five new recordings a month, together with imaginative re-issues of back-catlogue material.
The company has received countless awards, including several Gramophone Awards, notably the 2001 ?Record of the Year? for Richard Hickox?s recording of the original version of Vaughan Williams? A London Symphony; ?Best Choral Recording of 2003? for its recording of an undiscovered mass by Hummel and the ?Best Orchestral Recording? of 2004 for its set of Bax Symphonies. Other highlights include the American Grammy for Britten?s opera Peter Grimes, and most recently (2008), two further Grammy Awards, one for Hansel and Gretel and the other for Grechaninov?s Passion Week. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet?s debut on Chandos was also awarded Record of the Year by Monde de la Musique this year.
Chandos remains an independent, family run company which produces and markets its recordings from its office in Colchester, England, and is distributed worldwide.