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Sony BMG Creates New Classical Music Division

(CelebrityAccess mediaWire) —

Sony BMG Music Entertainment has created a new classical music division, Sony BMG Masterworks. Under the leadership of Gilbert Hetherwick, president, Sony BMG Masterworks, the new division will combine the assets of the former BMG Classics and Sony Classical, including venerable imprints RCA Red Seal, Sony Classical, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Arte Nova. Sony BMG Masterworks will also oversee the extensive combined Sony BMG Broadway catalogue and will be responsible for future cast recordings as well as orchestral film score recordings.

"Sony BMG believes in a positive future for the classical music business and has tremendous confidence in Gilbert's vision for Sony BMG Masterworks," commented Michael Smellie, chief operating officer, Sony BMG Music Entertainment. "Given Sony BMG Masterworks' extraordinary combined artist rosters and legendary catalogues, our new classical division is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the global demand for quality classical music. We are committed to a philosophy that a strong classical division can bring both prestige and profitability to our overall operation."

The primary focus of Sony BMG Masterworks will be on classical music in the traditional sense. The new division's plans call for a focused and targeted program of new recordings by both major and developing artists as well the restoration and development of the division's vast and unparalleled catalogue.

Key members of the Sony BMG Masterworks global management team have been appointed and will report to Heatherwick. They are:

** David Lai – senior vice president of A&R and Operations

** Michael Brüggemann – vice president of Masterworks Europe

** Steve Schoen – vice president of Sales, Masterworks

** Faye Perkins – vice president of Marketing, Masterworks

** Michelle Errante – vice president of Classical Marketing & Catalogue Development, Masterworks

"With Sony BMG Masterworks' talented team now in place, we look forward to a great future for classical music within Sony BMG Music Entertainment," said Hetherwick. "I am proud to work closely with dedicated, first-rate professionals such as David and Michael as well as the rest of our team, who share my deep commitment to bringing recordings with true classical credibility and musicianship to music lovers the world over."

David Lai will be responsible for A&R and Operations and will be based in New York. He joins Masterworks after 15 years at Sony Music, most recently as vice president of A&R Administration. He has conducted acclaimed orchestras internationally and is currently music director/conductor for The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. He has also produced cast, vocal and jazz albums for Sony, Universal and WEA, among others. Reporting to Lai will be Deborah Surdi as vice president of Classical A&R and Paul Cremo as vice president of Broadway and Soundtracks A&R.

Brüggemann will oversee marketing, A&R and promotion for all of the Sony BMG Masterworks projects in Europe. He brings to the Masterworks team over 10 years of experience with Sony Classical in Europe and Germany and will be based in Berlin.

Schoen will be responsible for all aspects of sales and will be the key liaison between the new division and the Sony BMG Sales Enterprise team. Beyond "traditional" retail, hewill also be involved in Special Markets projects as well the digital download business and will be based in New York.

Perkins will be responsible for marketing and promotion. She has over 15 years of experience working with Sony Classical in New York and Toronto. Based in New York, she will also be the key liaison between the New York and Berlin international teams.

Errante will oversee all aspects of our planned extensive catalogue program as well as the production and product management of all Sony BMG Masterworks projects. She will also oversee the marketing of traditional classical releases.

Sony BMG Masterworks is home to Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, John Williams, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Midori, Murray Perahia, Sequentia, The 5 Browns, Evgeny Kissin, Nikolaj Znaider and others as well as a legendary catalogue of recordings that dates back more than a century. Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner