Music has always been a passion for Needham High School alum 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 recently knighted Sacks for his contribution to classical music through his record label Channel Classics Records. According to Sacks the knighting took place Nov. 29 during his label’s 25th anniversary concert at which there were 400 people in attendance. The knighting came as a surprise for Sacks whose assistant organized the ceremony in secret.
“Before I knew it – I’m knighted,”
The knighthood is an honor said Sacks who has pursued music since high school in Needham. Growing up, Sacks, a French Horn player, played in the Needham High School band and youth orchestra in Boston. “I always liked musi;c it was always in the back of my mind,” he said. That interest led him to Oberlin College, which he attended for two years, and then on to play in Europe. It was such an amazing experience that Sacks never came back. He founded Channel Classics Records in 1990 and for the past 25 years has worked with famous musicians and composers, helped budding Dutch musicians and been at the forefront of developing high quality recording equipment for high quality sound.
Sacks’ decision to start the label stemmed from his interest in quality audio and a desire to not have to practice. Though based in the Netherlands, Sacks’ work is global. “I get into my van, I have all of my equipment and I drive to Budapest, to Stockholm, to Germany, it’s one big cultural event,” he said. The day before his interview with the Needham Times, Sacks had been recording in London and three weeks before that he had been working in Japan. Though he says he does not miss United States’ culture and politics, Sacks’ family’s house on Martha’s Vineyard remains an important part of his life he said. He stays close to Needham through his involvement in the Needham High School Class of 1971 group. “At least I can go to my high school reunion and say I do something,” Sacks said.
A leader in the field, Sacks comes to the United States to present on high-end quality equipment. According to Sacks, the quality of recording equipment makes all the difference in classical and jazz music. Though his label’s music is available on iTunes, for those who want to listen to top-grade audio, Sacks said listeners should go elsewhere. Specific to his label’s music, the high-quality versions are available through Channel Classics Records. Mainly focused on producing top-notch recordings, Sacks is partly motivated by a desire to introduce youth to quality sound they can’t find through iTunes. “You can’t be upset with youth today,” Sacks said. “What you’ve never heard you don’t miss.”
Music is where it starts and ends for Sacks. “At the end of the day I’m a musician,” he said.