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Conductor Barenboim launches classical label with Universal

By Anastasia Gorelova

BERLIN (Reuters) - Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim announced on Wednesday the launch of a new classical music label in collaboration with Universal Music Group aimed at promoting high quality classical releases in digital space.

Barenboim, 71, said at a ceremony in Berlin that his new venture Peral Music was “the future of the digital world."

The label will be run by Barenboim and will distribute classical music releases via iTunes for the first two months, after which the standard digital albums will become available to other digital partners and streaming services.

“I have seen the changes to the place of music in society which is, in my view, much weaker than it was, say, 60 years ago,” Barenboim said in a statement.

“I didn’t want to accept such a negative verdict and therefore I wanted to find a way to start something that might get through to the younger generation who are completely at home in the digital world, and might get interested in a project like this that is exclusively in the digital space.”

The releases, however, will be aimed at the general public rather than just young people, Barenboim explained after the conference.

He said the project would serve as an important step to mark how the use of the new technology could help the recording industry that is “going through transitional period.”

The first releases, already available at the label’s website http://www.peralmusic.com/, consist of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies 1-3 recorded by German’s Staatskapelle Berlin. The upcoming releases will also include two piano recitals of Stravinsky’s "Rite of Spring".

Barenboim, who was given complete freedom over the label’s repertoire by Universal, preferred at this point not to disclose many details of future releases. He only said he wanted to make his projects educational, and that he was planning to record special piano studies to help young musicians listen and understand the pieces they learn to play.

Currently music director at La Scala in Milan, the Berlin State Opera, and the Staatskapelle Berlin, Barenboim said his main goal was human development and music education rather than financial profit.

(Editing by Michael Roddy, Toni Reinhold)

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