Costa Pilavachi may just be the most influential personality in deciding which artist and what music make it on to CDs. Today he serves as the artistic leader of the Universal Music Group – the largest classical record company. But he started off when he was just a student in college – running the classical record department of a store in Canada.
Then in what must be a unique career achievement, he went on to serve as President of no fewer than three major classical music labels: Philips, Decca and EMI – and earlier this year, he was appointed at Universal with its flagship Deutsche Grammophon and Decca labels.
In this fascinating interview with “Mad About Music” host Gilbert Kaplan, Pilavachi talks about:
- How “blasting” Bach’s Second Brandenburg Concerto onto the sidewalk always produced a jump in CD sales at a record store he managed
- Why CDs of orchestras playing well-known symphonies are so difficult to sell
- Which contemporary composers will endure
- The music he wants played at his funeral
- The pop composer that accompanied his youthful romantic encounters
- Which pianists or singers predictably produce best-selling CDs
- How a newly discovered work by Berlioz fell in his lap
- Why in his fantasy, he’d be a conductor
His musical choices include works by Bach, Berlioz, Debussy, Porpora, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky.