About Channel Classics

The perfect combination of sound and performance.

Jared Sacks setting up microphones in de Waalse Kerk in Amsterdam. Photo by Wouter Jansen

Channel Classics Records is a quality record label based in the Netherlands. Its founder, producer and recording engineer is Jared Sacks. He grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied French Horn at the Oberlin Conservatory and the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 1987, after 15 years of experience playing French Horn, Jared Sacks decided to turn his hobby of recording music into a profession. The label started in 1990 and he named it Channel Classics because of the street that he lived on in Amsterdam; the Kanaalstraat (‘Channel Street’). The label has since moved to Herwijnen, where a small and dedicated team creates and promotes the albums, working closely together with artists, managements and distributors.

Over the years, an impressive catalogue was built and praised for its perfect combination of sound and performance, winning numerous Awards from leading classical music magazines such as Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and Diapason. 

Channel Classics releases its albums as CDs, Streams, and Downloads from mp3 all the way up to Direct Stream Digital – the original master file of the DSD recording.

Label of the Year

In September 2015, Gramophone awarded Channel Classics “Label of the Year”! 

A tribute by Gramophone’s Editor and Publisher Martin Cullingford:

In the 25 years since Channel Classics was founded by its devoted Managing Director Jared Sacks, the recording landscape has changed radically. Where once majors reigned supreme and indies carved a niche in terms of repertoire, artists or market, now the distinction between the two, so far as collectors are concerned, is not so clear-cut. The most discerning among the indies – and this year’s winner is certainly one – nurture a hand-picked roster of brilliant artists, just as majors have always done, giving them the support to explore the repertoire they most excel in, and allowing them to take risks. Reaping the rewards of this kind of approach are, fundamentally, the listeners.

graomphone-label-of-the-yearForemost stars among those on Channel Classics’ roster include British violinist Rachel Podger and Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer. Podger’s every disc reveals an artist who effortlessly combines intelligent attention to detail, virtuosic brilliance and a thrilling joy in music-making. This year saw her recording of Vivaldi’s L’estro armonicoshortlisted in the Baroque Instrumental category, having already claimed Recording of the Month in April 2015; in his review, Lindsay Kemp wrote: ‘There is probably no more inspirational musician working today.’

To Podger and Fischer can be added a host of less- well-known artists – Rosanne Philippens and the Ragazze Quartet are two such who have fared well in Gramophone – while a completely unexpected and delightful disc of works for trumpet and trombone called ‘Tintomara’ (an Editor’s Choice in June) showed off Channel Classics at its imaginative best. All in all, it’s been a very fine year to crown an impressive quarter-century for this year’sGramophone Label of the Year.

Fischer, meanwhile, has steadily built his Budapest Festival Orchestra into one of today’s most impressive ensembles, regularly releasing recordings which stand proudly in the company of orchestras of much older vintage and fame. His Mahler Ninth was an Editor’s Choice in our June issue, and a closing remark by critic David Gutman – ‘The Channel Classics issue (with surround-sound option) is in a very special class, a sonic dazzler’ – gets us to the heart of one of the label’s greatest strengths: Sacks’s audiophile commitment to sound quality, and to exploiting the possibilities of new and improved recording formats to lend the most vivid listening experience he can to his carefully prepared, painstakingly recorded releases.

Jared Sacks Knighted by Dutch King

Music has always been a passion for Jared Sacks. Now a Dutch-U.S. dual citizen, that passion has led him all over the world and earned him a recent knighthood in the Netherlands. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands knighted Sacks for his contribution to classical music through his record label Channel Classics Records in 2015.

More Films

See a film about a Channel recording here.

Find many more clips about our releases on our youtube page.

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