Portsmouth, RI (CelebrityAccess) — Jack Renner, a classically trained musician and music teacher who went on to found audiophile classical music label Telarc and became a Grammy Award-winning audio engineer, has died. He was 84.
According to the New York Times, Renner’s daughter said died at his home in Portsmouth, Rhode Island on June 19 from complications of cancer.
An Ohio native, Renner was teaching music in a Cleveland high school in the 1960s when he began a sideline as an audio engineer, recording local choruses and vocalists from local churches for a small vanity label.
“There were a number of pressing plants around the country advertising in music magazines: ‘Send us your tape and we’ll make it a record,’ ” Renner told Stereophile magazine in 1998 interview. “I found one that was doing franchising — they set you up with professional gear and taught you the basics. My business was dealing mostly with high schools, churches, colleges, community choruses, bands, for — I hate the term — ‘souvenir records.’ ”
It was through this vanity label that he met his future business partner Robert Woods, who used his contacts with the local music community to expand the label’s business in the region.
In 1977, the two founded Telarc Records, launching the label with a recording of Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra using an unusual direct to disc recording technique which purported to offer improved sound quality.
The label’s first release, “Direct From Cleveland” met with limited success but helped to establish the label’s reputation.
The following year, with Renner serving as the lead audio engineer for the label, Telarc made a splash with the audiophile community with the release of the first symphonic digital recording in the U.S. featuring Frederick Fennell and the Cleveland Symphonic Winds.
Renner went on to win multiple Grammys for his production work, starting in with a recording by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Telarc later ventured away from classical and into the world of jazz, recording albums by legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Shemekia Copeland, John Pizzarelli, and others.
In 2005, Renner and Woods sold Telarc to Concord, with Renner retiring from the industry following the sale and Woods staying on at the label until 2009 when they downsized Telarc’s in-house production team.
According to the Times, Renner was survived by his daughter Elizabeth Click, his wife Barbara, two sons, Scott and John; and six grandchildren.