|Guide to Classical Music in Hong Kong|
Hong Kong's classical music recording industry started very late compared to other countries. In the last decade, however, two labels emerged quietly and have excelled in their own business. While Naxos established itself as a major classical label to reckon with, Hugo has dominated the traditional Chinese music market. Marco Polo is not as successful as its sister label Naxos, but it is still a respectable label of both Western and Chinese classical music.
The now-famous Naxos was founded by Klaus Heymann in 1987. By working with talented but relatively unknown musicians all over the world, the label is able to release high standard recordings at a very modest price. Although this artistic policy remains unchanged throughout the years, Naxos has become one of the major international labels. The mainstream repertoire was once the label's only area of interest, but more operas, chamber works and unusual works have been added to its catalogue in recent years.
Marco Polo, founded five years earlier than its sister label Naxos, is devoted to the exploration of the unknown repertoire. Chinese classical music recordings constitute a large portion of Marco Polo's total output since its early days, although most of them are only available in Southeast Asia. Besides Chinese classical music, Marco Polo has also recorded many works by under-represented composers and rarities by famous composers.
Founded in 1987, Hugo is originally a label dedicated to promote traditional Chinese music. The recordings of this company are well-known for their excellence in the performance, sound quality and documentation. Gradually Hugo started to produce both Chinese and Western classical music recordings as well. In recent years, Hugo even ventures into unusual repertoires such as Chinese poetry and Chinese new age music. Besides being the premier label of traditional Chinese music, Hugo is also famous for their use of leading-edge technology and equipment in its recordings.