NMC Recordings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with the Israeli record label, NMC Music.
NMC Recordings
Founded 1989
Founder Colin Matthews
Genre Music by living British composers
Country of origin U.K.
Official website http://www.nmcrec.co.uk

NMC Recordings is a British recording label which specialises in recording works by living composers from the British Isles.


The composer Colin Matthews founded NMC in 1989, with financial assistance from the Holst Foundation. NMC is an abbreviation for "New Music Cassettes", which refers to the intended main means of packaging its recordings at the time.[1] Matthews continues as a producer of NMC's recordings.[2] NMC was originally administered through the Society for the Promotion of New Music. In 1992, NMC became independent, and Matthews invited Bill Colleran to become NMC's first board chairman.[3] Colleran served in this capacity from 1993 to 2004.[4]

Additional financial support for NMC resulted after the 1993 Copyright Duration Directive (93/98/EEC), which extended the copyright term from 50 to 70 years. As a result, the music of Gustav Holst came back into copyright, and NMC obtained increased funding as a result.


NMC's first recordings, from 1989, were of Jonathan Harvey's Bhakti (NMC D001) [1] and a recital of contemporary solo piano music by Michael Finnissy (NMC D002). NMC's first opera recording was of Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus (NMC D050). Its single best-selling issue is of Anthony Payne's realisation of the sketches for Edward Elgar's Symphony No. 3 (NMC D053). NMC's catalogue has now over 200 recordings. NMC releases 10 to 12 discs per year. NMC has several sub-categories within its releases:

  • Archive series: important works and historical recordings from the 20th century[5]
  • Ancora series: reissues of recordings deleted from other labels (e.g. Collins Classics)

NMC has an overriding principle of maintaining all its titles in its catalogue and not deleting any issues.[1]

The NMC Songbook[edit]

To mark its 20th anniversary in 2009, NMC Recordings commissioned The NMC Songbook, a collection of art-songs from 96 composers, each on the general theme of "Britain", scored for one or two voices, and various instrumental accompaniments. NMC recorded the collection of songs (NMC D150) for commercial release in April 2009. This recording received the Gramophone Contemporary Award in 2009.[6]

In parallel, the label curated a series of 4 concerts, the first public performances of the songs, at Kings Place, London from 1–4 April 2009.[7]


Several NMC releases have won critical awards:

  • Robin Holloway: Second Concerto for Orchestra (NMC D015M; 1994 Gramophone Magazine Award)
  • Harrison Birtwistle: The Mask of Orpheus (NMC D050; 1998 Gramophone Award)
  • Jonathan Harvey: Body Mandala (NMC D141; 2008 Gramophone Award)
  • Julian Anderson: Book of Hours (NMC D121; 2007 Pizzicato Supersonic Award)
  • Benjamin Britten: Britten on Film (NMC D112; 2008 MIDEM Classical Award)
  • The NMC Songbook (NMC D150; 2009 Gramophone Award)
  • Harrison Birtwistle: Night's Blackbird (NMC D156; 2011 Gramophone Award)
  • Harrison Birtwistle: Night's Blackbird (NMC D156; 2012 BBC Music Magazine Award)


  1. ^ a b Tom Service (2009-03-31). "NMC: the label rescuing classical songwriting". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  2. ^ Stephen Moss (2001-04-17). "'There's a wall blocking new music, and sometimes it feels as if I'm banging my head against it'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  3. ^ "Bill Colleran: music publisher and supporter of modern composers". The Times. 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  4. ^ Stephen Moss (2008-08-19). "Obituary: Bill Colleran". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  5. ^ About NMC, NMC website. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  6. ^ Gramophone Contemporary Award 2009, Gramophone. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  7. ^ Geoff Brown (2009-04-03). "The NMC Songbook at Kings Place, N1". The Times. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 

External links[edit]