Conductors Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Leonard Bernstein
and soprano Maria Callas head the list

The world’s most influential classical recording review celebrates the movers and shakers
of the classical recording industry

With its May issue,Gramophone launches its Hall of Fame, a list of 50 men and women who have most influenced the classical record industry, as voted for by the magazine’s readers and visitors to its website. From an initial list of nearly 500 people drawn up by Gramophone’s editors, 50 emerged from the voting process as having the significance on the industry its roughly 110 year history.

Conductors, singers, instrumentalists, producers, engineers, label founders and A&R executives were all eligible (composers and large ensembles were not). Nearly 5500 votes were cast to achieve the first 50 honorees of the Hall of Fame.

The 50 honorees are championed by 50 musicians and critics. So Mariss Jansons writes about Karajan, Angela Gheorghiu about Callas, Christian Thielemann about Furtwängler, Lang Lang about Barenboim, Sir Antonio Pappano about Domingo, and composer Jake Heggie about Joyce DiDonato.

Gramophone’s Editor-in-Chief, James Jolly, explained that ‘Gramophone celebrates its 90th birthday next year, and so has witnessed at close quarters the development and growth of the classical music industry. That makes us perfectly placed to create a list that celebrates the heroes not just of today, but also of the golden years that witnessed the arrival of electrical recording, the LP, stereo, digital recording, the CD and the download.’

The list contains many of the great names of classical music in the 20th and 21st centuries: conductors like Karajan, Furtwängler, Toscanini, Klemperer and Carlos Kleiber to today’s stars like Rattle and Gardiner; pianists such as Perahia, Pollini, Richter, Rubinstein, Horowitz and Gould; violinists Oistrakh, Menuhin and Heifetz; singers such as Callas, Domingo, Björling, Sutherland and Fischer-Dieskau.

And the Hall of Fame doesn’t neglect the ‘back-room boys’ either: producers Walter Legge and John Culshaw, and the founder of Hyperion Ted Perry, have all been voted in.

Joyce is one of only three working singers to be voted in by the public and joins the ranks of Baker, Bartoli, Björling, Callas, Caruso, Domingo, Fischer-Dieskau, Nilsson, Pavarotti, Schwarzkopf and Sutherland.

Each year, Gramophone will invite its readers to add to the list, which will be revealed in the spring.

View the list of complete list of winners here.