From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Nonesuch was founded in 1964 by Jac Holzman to produce "fine records at the same price as a trade paperback", which would be half the price of a normal LP. To achieve this he initially licensed European recordings of classical music as it would be too expensive to record new material. Originally the label concentrated heavily on chamber and baroque music, often with (then) unique repertory, and typically sold at less-than-premium prices. Upon its formation, Nonesuch operated as a subsidiary label of Elektra Records, which Holzman had launched in 1950. In 1970, Holzman sold Elektra and Nonesuch to Kinney National Company, which became Warner Communications and later part of Time Warner's Warner Music. In 2004, Warner Music Group (WMG) became an independently owned, publicly traded company.
Holzman's tastes led to several firsts for the label, including early electronic releases. Nonesuch commissioned Morton Subotnick's 1967 album Silver Apples of the Moon (made on the Buchla 100), and in 1966 released a 2-LP set of Moog sounds with 16-page booklet called The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music by Beaver & Krause (which spent 26 weeks in Billboard's Top 100 chart) ... both preceding the enormous popularity of Wendy Carlos's Switched-On Bach.
Teresa Sterne was the coordinator of the company from 1965 until 1979; she was responsible not only for all of the artists & repertory decisions but also for overseeing the increasingly distinctive look of the record jackets. Her abrupt termination in 1979 ushered in a period of uncertainty and decline. She was replaced by the founder's younger brother, Keith Holzman, who had been the production chief and who had no musical background. With the hiring of Robert Hurwitz as president in 1984 the company's fortunes began to stabilize. The label was known as Elektra Nonesuch from 1987 to 1995.
In the late 1990s, after Elektra underwent restructuring at the executive level, Nonesuch was shifted under the umbrella of Warner Music International. In the early 2000s, Nonesuch briefly operated under Atlantic Records. Warner Bros. Records took over handling its business affairs and distribution in 2004.
Nonesuch Explorer Series
In the late 1960s, the Explorer Series made the label a pioneer in the field of world music before the term had even been coined. The series, which Nonesuch released from 1967 to 1984, consisted of field recordings made primarily in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe.
For American non-travelers, it was the first exposure to musical idioms such as music produced by a gamelan. In 1977, a few of the recordings were chosen for the Voyager Golden Record, and sent into outer space aboard the Voyager spacecraft. In 2008, one of the first Explorer Series albums, Music from the Morning of the World (1967), comprising early field recordings that the British musicologist David Lewiston had made in Bali in 1966, was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.
The analog original recordings of the Nonesuch Explorer Series albums were remastered during the 2000s. Now with new packaging, its catalogue is being re-released in CD format.