The Supraphon name (originally used for an electric record player), was first registered as a trademark in 1932. In the post-war years, it was the label of domestic albums produced for export, playing a significant role in helping to spread the fame of Czech classical music from the late 1940s.
In Czechoslovakia, it was one of the three major state-owned labels, the other two being Panton and Opus. Panton is currently a division of Supraphon; Opus (operating in Slovakia) became independent after break-up of Czechoslovakia and was acquired by Warner Music Group in 2019.
The artistic direction of the firm gave rise to a broad catalogue of titles which systematically mapped out the works of Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, Leoš Janáček, Bohuslav Martinů and Jan Dismas Zelenka, as well as other representatives of both the Czech and the international music worlds. Significant domestic and foreign soloists, chamber ensembles, orchestras and conductors all contributed to its collection of recordings.
Supraphon archives contain the recordings of Czech Philharmonic under the baton of Václav Talich, Karel Ančerl, Karel Šejna, Václav Neumann and others, as well as recordings of Saša Večtomov and such non-Czechoslovak artists as Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Mstislav Rostropovich, Ida Haendel, Henryk Szeryng, Hélène Boschi, Miloš Sádlo, and André Gertler. Many recordings have been reissued in editions Archive, Ančerl Gold Edition, Talich Special Edition.
The label also focused on collaboration with the present classical music interpreters, with recordings by the Pavel Haas Quartet awarded BBC Music Magazine's "Chamber Choice". Among other artists working with Supraphon were Jiří Bělohlávek and Sir Charles Mackerras.
The company's first stereo records were issued in 1961, although recordings were in the format from 1958. The label's earliest stereophonic pop music was recorded in 1964.
In the 1970s, Supraphon made some records in four channel stereo using the SQ system. For example: Two-LP-set Bedřich Smetana: Má Vlast. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Conductor: Václav Neumann. Supraphon Stereo/Quad 1410 2021/2 P 1976.
Since 1981, Supraphon was recording in digital and first CDs were produced in Japan in 1984. Pop music was released on CD from 1987.
In 1988, Grammy nominated artists The Moody Brothers recorded a historic album in Prague with Jiri Brabec and Country Beat. The album Friends was the first such country music cooperative production between an American company, Lamon Records and Supraphon. The recording earned critical acclaim and won the Moodys and Brabec, along with the producers, engineers and studios involved in the project the Ampex Golden Reel Award.
- List of record labels
- Music from Eighteenth-Century Prague
- Exported by Artia, discogs.com. Retrieved 9 February 2021
- Supraphon Classical Music Catalogue 2008
- Morris, Edward "Moodys Play With Czech Mates" Billboard Magazine. September 1988