Sony Classical Records

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Sony Classical Records
Sony Classical logo.svg
Parent company Sony Music
Founded 1927 (1927)
Distributor(s) Sony Masterworks
Genre Classical
Country of origin U.S.
Official website www.sonyclassical.com

Sony Classical Records (also known simply as Sony Classical) is an American record label founded in 1927 as Columbia Masterworks Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records.[1] In 1948, it issued the first commercially successful long-playing 12" record. Over the next decades its artists included Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, Glenn Gould, Eugene Ormandy, Vangelis, Elliot Goldenthal, Leonard Bernstein and John Williams. Columbia Records used the Masterworks brand name not only for classical and Broadway records, but also for spoken-word albums such as Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly's successful I Can Hear It Now series. Parent CBS also featured the Masterworks name on its consumer electronics equipment.

In 1980, the Columbia Masterworks label was renamed as CBS Masterworks Records, but in 1990, after CBS Records was acquired by Sony, it was renamed Sony Classical Records; its logo echoes the "Magic Notes" logo that was Columbia's emblem until 1954. During the 1990s, the label attracted controversy under the leadership of Peter Gelb, as it emphasized crossover music over mainstream classical releases, failing to make available much of its archive of great recordings. Going "back to the future", the Masterworks name lives on in its series of Broadway cast albums released through Masterworks Broadway Records, and as the name of Sony Music Entertainment's classical music division, Sony Masterworks. The Sony Classical label is listed today as a sister label of Masterworks.

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