New Amsterdam Records

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New Amsterdam Records
Founded2008 (2008)
FounderJudd Greenstein, Sarah Kirkland Snider, William Brittelle
Distributor(s)Nonesuch Records, Naxos Records
GenreContemporary classical, avant-garde
Country of originU.S.
LocationNew York City

New Amsterdam Records is an independent record label in New York City that was formed in 2008 by Judd Greenstein, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and William Brittelle to promote classically trained musicians who fall between traditional genre boundaries. Often abbreviated as NewAm, the organization has been hailed as a central force in creating the "indie-classical" scene.,[1] and was granted 501(c)(3) status in 2011 with the mission of "supporting and representing the post-genre new music community."[2]


New Amsterdam Records was founded to support the developing genre of music coming from people with great educations in composition who were also influenced by pop and jazz music and did not fit into the music industry binary of classical or pop.[3] NewAm has been described favorably by Seth Colter Walls in Newsweek as breaking down genre boundaries, "making a nice little tradition out of breaking tradition," and striking a healthy balance between old traditions (such as classical and jazz) and contemporary music."[4]

In an interview with mental floss magazine, co-founder Judd Greenstein explains that they look for artists "whose work is a reflection of truly integrated musical influences. In other words, we don’t want classical-goes-rock or electronic-music-with-some-violins – we want music where people are being as personal and honest as they can be, while opening themselves up fully to all the music that they love."[5]

Furthermore, in an interview with I Care If You Listen, co-founders and co-artistic directors William Brittelle, Judd Greenstein, and Sarah Kirkland Snider stated that “This variety stems from the inherent variety of individual composers not just as composers, but as listeners, each with a unique experience of listening to music in the world, and each therefore with a unique way of manifesting that experience in newly-created art. This is what we call a musical “voice,” and the voices of composers we release draw from an innumerable set of influences. A post-genre approach to composition inherently breeds a distinctiveness in those composers’ musical voices.”[6]

Business model[edit]

Making an album can involve many costs, such as renting a recording studio, paying the musicians, creating album art, and manufacturing copies of the album. At New Amsterdam, the musician, not the label, picks up the cost of making the album, but the musician gets a higher percentage of royalties that come from sales.[7]

In 2017, the label revamped its model to function as an all-in-one non-profit record label, presenter and artist service organization, aiming to create long-term sustainability in the face of a quickly changing music industry. Their support continues to extend far beyond album distribution, and artists continue to retain full ownership of their recordings. NewAm partners with artists to share the costs through project-specific fundraising and grants 100% of album sales directly to the artists.[2]

In 2019 New Amsterdam announced two initiatives, including a new partnership with Nonesuch Records and the Windmill Series, a digitally-focused set of releases made available to subscribers in addition to the existing release schedule. The Nonesuch partnership sees the release of approximately three albums per year to support contemporary American composers in realizing ambitious creative projects, with initial releases from composers William Brittelle, Caroline Shaw, and Daniel Wohl.[8] The Windmill Series has seen releases from artists including Arooj Aftab, Timo Andres, Gemma Peacocke, and more. After a subscription exclusivity period, Windmill Series releases are available digitally worldwide.[9]

They are distributed by Naxos Records in North America.

Critical reception[edit]

Justin Davidson, music critic for New York, wrote, "They're part of this generation of people who get out of music school with all of these incredible skills, and all of this culture, and all of this creativity — fully aware that nobody is going to hand them a career. There's no superstructure of an established music industry that is going to pay any attention to these people, because they're not even paying attention to the much more established, mainstream conductors and violinists and orchestras. The ability to get noticed by having some record executive take an interest in you and record you — you know, that's really practically a thing of the past. If you want to make recordings, you've really got to do it yourself."[10]

For New Amsterdam's and (Le) Poisson Rouge's 10-Year Anniversary show in 2018, Davidson write “In their decade of existence, (Le) Poisson Rouge and New Amsterdam have helped seed whole forests of music far beyond the five boroughs.”[11]

NewAm have been compared to Bang on a Can, who also built their own label, community, and performance circuit, in a similar manner, 20 years ago. The difference, however, between the two is that Bang on a Can shared a common musical aesthetic — minimalism — whereas NewAm is more of a musical umbrella. NewAm's artists have become increasingly popular among a broad public while Bang on a Can's primary supporters continue to be larger, more established cultural institutions. "The interesting thing about this group of people, and New Amsterdam, is the real lack of interest in anything that you could call aesthetic categories, or rules about what does and doesn't belong in their sphere of influence," Justin Davidson says.[10]

Selected discography[edit]

Release Date Artist Album
November 20, 2020 Joseph C. Phillips Jr., Numinous The Grey Land
November 13, 2020 Tristan Perich Drift Multiply
October 9, 2020 Travis Laplante, Yarn/Wire Inner Garden
September 29, 2020 Matthew Evan Taylor The Unheard Mixtapes
September 25, 2020 Sarah Kirkland Snider Mass for the Endangered
September 18, 2020 Michi Wiancko Planetary Candidate
August 21, 2020 Roomful of Teeth The Ascendant - Just Constellations
August 7, 2020 Hub New Music, Robert Honstein Soul House
July 10, 2020 Jacob Cooper Terrain
June 5, 2020 Molly Joyce Breaking and Entering
May 22, 2020 Methods Body Methods Body
March 4, 2020 iT Boy The Nail House EP
April 24, 2020 Bec Plexus Sticklip
April 3, 2020 Ted Hearne Place
February 14, 2020 yMusic Ecstatic Science
August 30, 2019 Nathalie Joachim, Spektral Quartet Fanm d'Ayiti
May 31, 2019 Daniel Wohl État
May 3, 2019 William Brittelle, Wye Oak (band), Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Metropolis Ensemble Spiritual America
April 19, 2019 Caroline Shaw and Attacca Quartet Orange
November 14, 2018 Padma Newsome The Vanity of trees
October 26, 2018 Brooklyn Youth Chorus Silent Voices
September 28, 2018 Aizuri Quartet Blueprinting
September 7, 2018 Mary Halvorson and Robbie Lee Seed Triangular
May 25, 2018 The Hands Free The Hands Free
April 26, 2018 Tigue Strange Paradise
March 30, 2018 Invisible Anatomy Dissections
February 23, 2018 Subtle Degrees A Dance That Empties
January 26, 2018 John Hollenbeck (musician) Large Ensemble All Can Work
November 17, 2017 Emily Pinkerton, Patrick Burke, and NOW Ensemble Rounder Songs
October 6, 2017 Steven Mackey and Jason Treuting Orpheus Unsung
August 25, 2017 Nick Photinos Petits Artéfacts
June 16, 2017 Amir ElSaffar Not Two
March 31, 2017 Brooklyn Youth Chorus Black Mountain Songs
March 17, 2017 Jasper String Quartet Unbound
January 27, 2017 Molly Joyce Lean Back and Release
November 18, 2016 Vicky Chow A O R T A
November 4, 2016 Qasim Naqvi Chronology
October 28, 2016 The Living Earth Show Dance Music
September 30, 2016 Darcy James Argue's Secret Society Real Enemies
August 26, 2016 Battle Trance Blade of Love
May 13, 2016 Roomful of Teeth, Glenn Kotche, Jeffrey Zeigler The Colorado
April 29, 2016 Deerhoof & Ensemble Dal Niente Balter / Saunier
March 25, 2016 Michael Mizrahi Currents
February 29, 2016 Finnegan Shanahan The Two Halves
January 29, 2016 Daniel Wohl Holographic
November 13, 2015 TIGUE Peaks
October 30, 2015 Ted Hearne The Source
September 4, 2015 Sarah Kirkland Snider Unremembered
August 28, 2015 Will Mason Ensemble Beams of the Huge Night
May 26, 2015 NOW Ensemble Dreamfall
April 28, 2015 Roomful of Teeth Render
March 31, 2015 Missy Mazzoli Vespers for a New Dark Age
October 28, 2014 Vicky Chow Tristan Perich: Surface Image
September 30, 2014 yMusic Balance Problems
August 26, 2014 Battle Trance Palace of Wind
July 29, 2014 No Lands Negative Space
April 29, 2014 Olga Bell Krai
June 25, 2013 Daniel Wohl Corps Exquis
April 30, 2013 Darcy James Argue's Secret Society Brooklyn Babylon
March 26, 2013 Jace Clayton The Julius Eastman Memory Depot
March 26, 2013 Nadia Sirota Baroque
May 29, 2012 Michael Mizrahi The Bright Motion
April 26, 2011 yMusic Beautiful Mechanical
November 28, 2011 NOW Ensemble Awake
November 16, 2010 Janus I am (not)
November 16, 2010 Newspeak Sweet Light Crude
October 26, 2010 Sarah Kirkland Snider Penelope
September 28, 2010 Victoire Cathedral City
June 29, 2010 William Brittelle Television Landscape
May 25, 2010 Matt Marks The Little Death: Vol. 1
May 25, 2010 Corey Dargel Someone Will Take Care of Me
January 26, 2010 itsnotyouitsme Fallen Nonuments
January 26, 2010 Sam Sadigursky words project iii: miniatures
May 19, 2009 Nadia Sirota first things first
May 12, 2009 Darcy James Argue's Secret Society Infernal Machines
January 27, 2009 QQQ Unpacking the Trailer...
January 27, 2009 Andrew McKenna Lee Gravity and Air
September 9, 2008 Sam Sadigursky Words Project II
October 28, 2008 Corey Dargel Other People's Love Songs
August 29, 2008 Ted Hearne Katrina Ballads
June 6, 2008 Build Build
May 1, 2008 William Brittelle Mohair Time Warp
January 8, 2008 itsnotyouitsme walled gardens
January 8, 2008 NOW Ensemble NOW
May 26, 2007 Sam Sadigursky The Words Project


  1. ^ Jack S, "New Amsterdam Records Unveils New Releases, Live Premiere and Free MP3s", March 5, 2010, accessed July 7, 2010
  2. ^ a b "About", accessed July 24, 2017
  3. ^ Joseph Dalton, "On Record - An Overview of the State of Contemporary Music Recording (Part 1): Still Spinning", June 8, 2009, accessed July 7, 2010
  4. ^ Seth Colter Walls, "Jazz Standards That Aren’t'", April 25, 2009, accessed July 7, 2010
  5. ^ David K. Israel, "How to Start a Record Label, with New Amsterdam Records" Archived 2011-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, May 5, 2009, accessed July 7, 2010
  6. ^ Ihnen, Megan (2018-12-27). "5 Questions to New Amsterdam Records on their 10th Anniversary". I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  7. ^ Kadet, Anne (27 May 2016). "Brooklyn Label Makes Music, but Not Much Money". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  8. ^ "New Amsterdam, Nonesuch Records Announce Partnership to Support Contemporary American Composers - Nonesuch Records". Nonesuch Records Official Website. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  9. ^ "New Amsterdam Records - Windmill Series". New Amsterdam Records. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
  10. ^ a b Tom Vitale, "NPR's All Things Considered, 'A New Label for Music's New Blood'", May 29, 2008, accessed June 30, 2010
  11. ^ "On 10 Years of the New New-Music Scene, and 30 Years of My Own". 8 June 2018. Retrieved 2019-04-29.

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