Universal Music Group (UMG) has turned to the airwaves for its next president of US classical music labels, with WQXR’s general manager Graham Parker appointed. Parker has never worked for a record company but has had enormous success at WQXR and New York Public Radio, with the former winning a 2016 Peabody Award for its Q2Music podcast.
Parker will oversee US imprints of Deutsche Grammophon, Decca Records, Decca Classics, Mercury Classics, and distributed label ECM. He will also be responsible for developing and promoting emerging classical music artists to a global audience.
Speaking on the appointment, Danny Bennett – president and CEO at UMG imprint Verve Label Group – said that Parker’s ability to take classical music to a mass audience was a key reason for his selection: ‘With Graham, we’re adding an executive who has a proven track record of having his finger on the pulse of classical music and opera and who has made the genre accessible to a whole new audience through ground-breaking programming and digital innovation.’
‘The opportunity to not only join the legendary catalogue of Deutsche Grammophon and Decca, but to also be on the forefront of identifying the classical superstars of tomorrow, was too incredible to pass up,’ commented Parker.
During Parker’s tenure as general manager, WQXR launched a new national series called Carnegie Hall Live; pioneered critically acclaimed festivals including Beethoven Awareness Month, Month of Mozart, and Bachstock; implemented the highly successful WQXR Instrument Drive; and maintained WQXR’s status as the most listened to classical music station in America.