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Naxos Founder Klaus Heymann Wins Sanford Medal


On Monday, May 18th, 2015, at a ceremony at Yale School of Music, Naxos Chairman and owner Klaus Heymann was presented with the prestigious Samuel Simons Sanford Award. Previous winners include Yo-Yo Ma, Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Alfred Brendel, Emanuel Ax, Marilyn Horne, Sherrill Milnes, Aaron Copland, Pierre Boulez, Sir George Solti, Eugene Ormandy, and Juilliard President Joseph Polisi.

In his citation at the presentation, Robert Blocker, Dean of the Yale School of Music, made reference to both the history of the Sanford Medal, and to the accomplishments of Klaus Heymann and the Naxos group of companies he created.

Dean Robert Blocker’s Citation:

“The Samuel Simons Sanford award is the highest honor the School of Music gives. Let me tell you just a little bit about the significance and history of the Sanford Medal. Not only is it our most prestigious award, but it recognizes and honors a person who was the first Professor of Applied Music at Yale, and one of the founders of the Yale School of Music. A pianist of extraordinary ability, but of modest renown, Sanford was also one of Yale’s most generous supporters. Teaching and devotion to musical causes were always close to his heart. He sponsored musicians’ concert tours and students’ studies abroad. He was in complete charge of the installation of the Newberry Organ in Woolsey Hall, and he gave the magnificent mace of silver and gold carried in this morning’s commencement procession for the University, and his family is also responsible for the Presidential Collar.

We honor people who have given distinguished service to music. This morning it is our great pleasure to honor Klaus Heymann. Klaus Heymann is the Chairman of the Naxos group of companies with wholly or partly owned subsidiaries in fifteen countries. The group is the world’s leading producer and distributor of classical music. Owned labels include Naxos, Marco Polo, Ondine, Dynamic, Capriccio, Proprius, Prophone, and others.

Naxos is a pioneer in the distribution of digital music. In 1996 it became the first label in the history of the music industry to make its entire catalogue available for streaming online. In 2002 Naxos launched the industry’s first- ever streaming subscription site Other platforms operated by the group are,, and several others. Group companies handle the physical and digital distribution of practically all independent and most major classical record labels. The Naxos group has also made substantial investments in music education and has published numerous music education books, e- books, and apps.

Klaus Heymann and Naxos are recipients of numerous awards including Classical Producer of the Year, Best Classical Label, Classical Label of the Year, the Orders Litteris et Artibus of the Republic of Austria, Gloria Artis of the Republic of Poland, and the medals of honor of the Johann Strauss societies of Austria and England. Naxos the label has won more than 20 Grammys.

Klaus Heymann is a visionary. He starts a project and the project continues to grow, and grow, and grow. And with his vision and his guidance he has enriched the worldwide community by making so much music accessible to them. Mr. Heymann it is the great pleasure of the School of Music to present you with the Samuel Simon Sanford Medal.”

A full video of the presentation can be seen at

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