Warner Music Group‘s Nonesuch Records, founded in New York City in 1964, is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2024.
The storied label is marking the occasion with events including special programming at March’s Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN as well as Vinyl Me, Please exclusive Nonesuch reissues.
Also, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, the label is working on a podcast, an exhibition and portfolio set of 25 years of Nonesuch artist portraits by photographer Michael Wilson; plus classic album vinyl reissues; limited edition anniversary merchandise; flash sales on Nonesuch recordings; playlists; a video series; and more.
Additional programming will be announced soon, including artist talks, art shows, a radio series, and collaborations with other organizations.
Founded by Elektra’s Jac Holzman as a classical label in 1964, Nonesuch artists have won Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships, and other awards, including Grammys in categories ranging from Alternative to Classical to Jazz to Folk to World Music to Rock and beyond.
The company’s leadership has been remarkably stable for most of the label’s sixty years of existence. It’s been led by just three people during that time: the late Tracey Sterne, Bob Hurwitz, and most recently David Bither.
Bither took the reins as President of the label in 2016 after longtime Nonesuch boss Bob Hurwitz announced a plan to step away from running the label. Hurwitz became Chairman Emeritus of the label in January 2017.
Bither joined Nonesuch in 1995 as Senior Vice President. His signings to the label have included the Black Keys, Emmylou Harris, Wilco, Laurie Anderson, Rhiannon Giddens and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Youssou N’Dour and Robert Plant.
“We spend most of our time looking into the future, working with artists on their next releases — so an anniversary gives us a chance to reflect on what has been accomplished, as well as where we are headed.”
David Bither, Nonesuch
“We spend most of our time looking into the future, working with artists on their next releases — so an anniversary gives us a chance to reflect on what has been accomplished, as well as where we are headed,” said David Bither.
“It also gives us a welcome opportunity to work closely with some of our longtime friends in the music community.”
The line-up for the 2024 Big Ears Festival, taking place in venues throughout downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, March 21–24 — includes 15 Nonesuch artists past, present, and future, in celebration of the label’s 60th anniversary: Sam Amidon, Laurie Anderson, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Tyondai Braxton, Rhiannon Giddens, Mary Halvorson, Robin Holcomb, Wayne Horvitz, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Kronos Quartet, Brad Mehldau, Ringdown (Caroline Shaw and Danni Lee), Davóne Tines, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, and Yasmin Williams.
“Big Ears is conceived as an adventure,” said Founder and Artistic Director Ashley Capps.
Capps, who called Nonesuch “iconic and influential” when announcing the festival lineup, added: “It’s an opportunity to hear the world’s most exciting musical creators as well as to open up to new ideas and experiences. It spurs the imagination and nourishes the soul. That’s the real magic of Big Ears.”
Vinyl Me, Please (VMP) curates and creates premium vinyl packages. As part of the 60th Anniversary, VMP will release The Paragon Series, twelve reissues from the Nonesuch catalog.
Featuring a wide range of the label’s recordings — and including artists like The Black Keys, Philip Glass, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Stephen Sondheim, Sam Gendel, and Laurie Anderson — Nonesuch says that each Paragon Series release will be from the highest quality audio sources.
They will be pressed at VMP’s own pressing plant, Vinyl Media Pressing, in Denver, Colorado, with lacquers cut by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound and plating by Gary Salstrom at Vinyl Media Pressing.
Throughout 2024, Nonesuch will also reissue a selection of its “most beloved albums” on vinyl, beginning in January with Gustavo Santaolalla’s Ronroco and also including Kronos Quartet’s Black Angels, Wilco’s A Ghost is Born, and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
Additional reissues will be announced throughout the year.
Meanwhile, Nonesuch has launched a new video series, Nonesuch Selects, which features the label’s artists choosing records by their labelmates, past and current from the label’s library.
The first Nonesuch Selects video, featuring guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson, may be seen here:
Other playlists, including one featuring the artists scheduled to perform at Big Ears 2024, will follow.
Elsewhere, The Nonesuch Store currently features limited-edition 60th anniversary-branded merchandise.
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