Universal Music Group Acquires Hyperion Records Ahead of Apple Music Classical Rollout, Touts Itself ‘As the Definitive Home for Classical Music Globally’

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Photo Credit: Manuel Nägeli

About one week after the formal announcement of Apple Music Classical, Universal Music Group (UMG) has officially acquired British classical label Hyperion Records.

The Big Three label revealed its latest buyout this morning, taking the opportunity in the corresponding release to bill itself “as the definitive home for classical music globally.” According to UMG – which last November rolled out a classical music streaming service via Deutsche Grammophon – Hyperion “will remain a standalone” label while operating under the Universal Music UK banner.

Ted Perry (who was born in 1931 and worked at Deutsche Grammophon’s London office in the mid-50s) founded Hyperion in 1980. According to the over four-decade-old label’s website, Hyperion is “devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.”

After the 2003 passing of Ted Perry (who also established Meridian Records), his son Simon took over Hyperion as managing director – a role that he’ll continue to hold despite the label’s sale.

“By being part of UMG, while keeping our artists and staff together, we can continue to build on my father’s legacy and that of everyone who’s been part of the Hyperion family over the past 43 years,” said Simon Perry, whose label has released approximately 2,500 recordings to date. “My debt to all of them is huge and I look forward to leading this incredible label into an exciting new chapter.”

Hyperion serves as the professional home of musicians including Marc-André Hamelin, Angela Hewitt, and Steven Isserlis, UMG highlighted, with forthcoming releases including “an ambitious series dedicated to the Masses and Magnificats of Cristóbal de Morales” as well as Come to Me in the Silence of the Night, or “a typically innovative programme of choral works by Ivo Antognini” from Stephen Layton and the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Addressing Hyperion’s sale in a statement of her own, violinist Alina Ibragimova indicated in part: “Over many years Hyperion has been a wonderful artistic team for me, supporting me to discover, experiment and record incredible repertoire in exactly the way I wanted. … I am looking forward to many more years of working with Simon Perry and his team in this new chapter as they join Universal Music Group.”

Besides the aforementioned Apple Music Classical (which is expected to go live on March 28th and will feature “thousands of exclusive albums,” according to Apple) and Deutsche Grammophon’s streaming service, companies including Naxos have long been working to bring classical music into the digital age.