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About Classical Archives

Welcome to the Classical Archives – a music website designed for a vital but often overlooked audience: lovers of Classical Music.

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Largest classical music site on the web: 896,000 files you can listen to (stream), or purchase in DRM-free MP3 for download by 18,000 composers and 77,000 artists from over 500 recording labels. Also includes the largest collection of free classical music MIDI files.
Site inception: 1994
(Operating as www.prs.net since March 1995)
Classical Archives, LLC
organized in California
2000
(Operating as www.classicalarchives.com since August 2000)
Main Domain: classicalarchives.com
prs.net and prs.com are equivalent and also valid.
TIP: Enter "prs" in your browser's address bar and press Control-Enter (IE/FireFox).
Media File Types:
  • MP3: 320 kbps Downloads (DRM-Free!)
  • AAC: 160 kbps Full Streams (Flash)
  • AAC: 64 kbps 1 minute Clip Streams (Flash)
  • MIDI: Synthesizer Sequences

Classical Archives was created in 1994 by Pierre R. Schwob while he was living in Hong Kong. The World Wide Web was at the beginning of its exponential growth and he published a small web page—The Archives of Classical MIDI Sequences—to share about 40 MIDI classical music files he had sequenced. At the bottom of the page, Schwob invited visitors to send him their own sequences. He emailed several potential contributors and explained that he wanted to provide a central location on the web where classical music MIDI files would be available and clearly cataloged to permit others to locate them easily. Rather quickly, the site attracted such important collections as the complete Scarlatti Sonatas by John Sankey and other wonderful sequences by Finley, Hisamori, Moclin, Yokochan and others.

Soon after inception, the site moved under the URL www.prs.net – usually as a virtual server, hosted by friends who believed in the merit of such an endeavor and who agreed to provide space on their servers. Schwob maintained the site as a hobby, spending one to two hours each day to catalog the submissions and to answer what became a steady stream of correspondence from all over the world. The site became an important stop for classical music lovers on the net, and its value was underlined by the requests (usually granted) to mirror the whole site by several universities and organizations on different continents.

In 1997, right after the reversion of Hong Kong to China, Schwob moved back to the U.S. and settled in Palo Alto CA, where he continued to develop the Archives. Then in 1999, he received an offer to sell the site to an outstanding group that had an intense interest in music and culture. But as the potential buyers and Schwob discovered that they were temperamentally well suited for each other, and as Schwob was not all that keen to completely let go of the site, it was agreed that the Classical Archives would be organized (Classical Archives, LLC) with Schwob as CEO, and the group would provide an infusion of capital to permit the Archives to expand its offering.

Although the Archives continued offering most of its contents to visitors at no charge, it began seeking the support of its users so that the site could both grow and maintain its position as the premier web site for music and culture lovers. A subscription system was launched which allowed those users who wished to subscribe to do so by contributing $25/year for an Individual Subscription.

Shortly thereafter, Maestro David Barg joined the Archives as Artistic Director. David is an internationally noted conductor with a deep commitment to music education and to working with young musicians and conductors. With David's help, the Archives launched its Featured Artists section, which offered live recordings in MP3 by outstanding orchestras, soloists and vocalists. David also created the Learning Center where he shared tips with other conductors and with music students.

Many new features were soon added, notably the Classical Archives' radio station, a search engine allowing searches both by keywords and by composers; and timelines and historical displays that provided a historical context for composers and their music. The Archives was most proud of the continued addition of outstanding artists to its roster, largely due to the wonderful efforts of Dr. Leila Yangurazova, our ambassador in Moscow. When David, due to the pressures of his conducting schedule, had to move back to New York, we had the extraordinary good fortune to be joined by Dr. Nolan Gasser—now our Artistic Director—who is an outstanding musicologist (Stanford Ph.D.), composer, arranger, and performer with an unbounded enthusiasm for our mission.

In January 2009, after an intense period of development, we launched the new Classical Archives with a much more aggressive mission: to include, in addition to our legacy content, the complete catalogs of the classical music record labels, in a new and completely redesigned website which we believe offers a quantum leap in music site design and navigation.

Classical Archives uses a proprietary system (the Contextual Metadata Engine [CM-e]) that allows for the ingestion and cataloging of all recordings based on a musicologically accurate and uniform, canonical, metadata database. Because of the CM-e, visitors can search and cross-reference by various relevant criteria: composer, work title, artist, albums, historical period, instrument, and genre, in order to find and compare different recordings. At the core of our efforts is the work of a small army of dedicated musicologists who, under Nolan's direction, continue working tirelessly to catalog and properly classify the music we are adding to the new site so that it can be presented in a complete and sophisticated, yet intuitive manner.

As we included music from record companies in our offering, we had to modify our subscription plan. We offer a monthly plan for $7.99/month and an annual plan for $79.90/year. We believe that we offer a compelling experience that is still at the low end of the current music services price spectrum. In addition, we offer 10% discounts on all music purchased for download by subscribers to our new service. Finally, and in keeping with our origins, we shall continue to offer free access to all our members to the many thousands MIDI files that are given to the Archives by our wonderful and committed contributors.

A great debt of gratitude is owed to our Chief Engineer Vladimir Volovich, Unix and Perl guru extraordinaire, who, after many years and countless hours of providing invaluable support to the Archives, was finally convinced to join our team on a full time basis. Finally we must mention the tireless efforts of our administrative support team in La Jolla and San Diego. All these people are a joy to work with and their dedication and inspiration make the Archives an invaluable asset on the internet for all.

We look forward to the continuing development of the Archives to fully realizing the mission inherent in our motto, The Ultimate Classical Music Destination™. All this is made possible by the happy marriage of technology and a great reverence for our cultural treasures.

Click for Pierre's vanity page
Click for his vanity page
PIERRE R. SCHWOB
CEO and Founder
Born in Los Angeles, brought up in Geneva, Switzerland; lived 15 years in New York, 11 years in Hong Kong, now in Palo Alto, CA. Self-taught (except in flying); built his first computer in 1977; books published on history (translated into several languages), calculators (chosen as special selection of the Mathematical Book Club) and chess openings. Adjunct assistant professor computer science, N.Y.U. 1981-86; holder of several U.S. and foreign patents; founded PRS Corporation, an R&D company in 1978 where he developed the award-winning ID LOGIC® technology which was incorporated into a U.S. national standard and licensed to the major consumer electronics manufacturers. Appointed Co-Chairman & CEO of Classical Archives, LLC in August 2000. Pierre is a hopeful amateur musician who has served on the board of directors of several classical music organizations. A cosmology and astronomy groupie (asteroid 32890 Schwob has been graciously named after him), he helped establish the Computing and Information Center at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford/SLAC. Happy on his boat, he is happiest scuba diving under it. He is blessed with his son Jonathan (1989) and his daughter Nathania (2001).
More details on his vanity page...

Dr. Nolan I. Gasser DR. NOLAN GASSER
Artistic Director
Born and raised in Southern California, Nolan is a critically acclaimed composer, pianist, conductor and arranger, as well as a published musicologist. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology in 2001 from Stanford University, where he is an Adjunct Professor in Medieval and Renaissance Music History. Nolan studied composition in Paris (and Fontainbleau) with Betsy Jolas, Gilbert Amy and Tristan Murail; received a Masters in Composition from NYU (studying with Todd Brief and Menachem Zur) and a Bachelors of Music degree from California State University, Northridge (studying with Aurelio de la Vega). He is the composer of numerous award-winning musical works, ranging in style from classical to jazz to popular, including music for the stage. His works have been performed in such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Alice Tully Hall, and La Salle Pleyel in Paris. His Oration on July 4th ? the first movement of his oratorio American Festivals ? for orchestra, chorus, and orator was premiered to great success at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC in May 2004 by the Charleston Symphony and Chorus under Maestro David Stahl, and with actor Sam Waterston as orator. In February 2005, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under Maestro David Loebel will premier the second movement of the oratorio, Black Suit Blues, for orchestra, chorus, and baritone soloist. Nolan also performs and records regularly with marquee performers as diverse as Steve Miller, John Handy, and Carol Channing. He recently enjoyed great commercial success with his holiday song, Christmas by the Bay. In all, Nolan brings to Classical Archives a rich and eclectic array of musical interests and expertise, along with a great enthusiasm for the mission and philosophy of the company. He lives in the Petaluma, CA with his wife Lynn, and their two children, Camille and Preston.

David A. Barg DAVID A. BARG
Director of the Learning Center
David is internationally recognized for his work with young musicians and conductors. The co-founder of the Barg-Fritz Institute for Continuing Conductor Education, he led the opening session of the Metropolitan Opera Guild's Winter Choral Directors Workshop in spring 2002. His conducting workbook is in pre-publication. Barg works with young musicians and conductors throughout America and around the world. In North America in 2001-02, Barg worked with young orchestras in Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Atlanta, Miami and elsewhere. Barg has conducted professional ensembles in the US, Europe, Russia, Australia, and has been a Cultural Ambassador for the United States Information Agency. He recently made his debut with the Moscow State Radio & Television Orchestra at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, a concert that was recorded for Russian radio and on CD. David has a daughter, Vanessa.

Vladimir V. Volovich VLADIMIR V. VOLOVICH
Chief Engineer
Born in 1971 in Voronezh, Russia (Soviet Union), which is in the middle of the European part of Russia (the "Black Earth" region), 600 kilometers to the south of Moscow. Studied piano in musical school (7 years). Earned his M.Sc. in theoretical physics at the Voronezh State University in 1995, then worked as an assistant researcher in the department of theoretical physics. Published several journal articles on particle physics. Vladimir also has an avid interest in mathematics, particularly topology, differential geometry, and category theory. Now he concentrates mostly on computer science. Vlad joined the team of Classical Archives when he created the first mirror of the Archives in 1996, deployed at the Voronezh University. He is married to Natasha who is also an engineer and they have two sons: Vasily (Basil) and Evgeny (Eugene).

Leila Yangurazova DR. LEILA YANGURAZOVA
Senior Representative for Russia
Born in Tashkent (former USSR) her early years were dedicated to ballet, piano, Russian literature and mathematics. After the catastrophic earthquake of 1966, she moved to Moscow where she graduated from the mathematics department of the physics faculty at Moscow University. She worked in various branches of geophysics, astrophysics, lasers, and ecology. She earned her PhD in 1988 after defending her thesis on The Collapse of Dense Stellar Clusters at the Institute of Cosmic Research of the Russian Academy of Science. Following "Perestroika," she immersed herself in several social and cultural causes. She became involved with The Seasons, a Moscow chamber orchestra. She wrote an article on J.Krishnamurti which was later reprinted in several of his books. She produced the successful tour of the famous classical Indian singer Shobha Joshi which was broadcast by the major Russian radio stations and NTV (1999). Since then she is a regular participant in radio shows. She also appeared in several Moscow and Tatarstan radio programs about Islam (autumn, 2001). She was a charter member (CTM) of The Toastmaster International Club, (The Moscow Free Speakers) of which she became President in 1995, and now she is working on establishing the second TM Club in Moscow. Her son Shamil Sunyaev is a molecular biologist who heads a laboratory at the Harvard Medical School in Boston.

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Press/Media Contact: HWH Public Relations
1414 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212)355-5049
Fax: (212)593-0065
Email: info@hwhpr.com
Web: http://www.hwhpr.com/

Contact: Lois Whitman
phone: (212)355-5049 Ext 105
RSS/XML Feed Press RSS feed

Wall Street Journal - Searching for Beethoven: the iTunes Hitch - 4 Jan 2012(Link)
IGN.com - Videogames Exposing Teens to Classical Music Says Classical Archives - 11 Aug 2009(Link)
KPAC-Radio (San Antonio, TX) - Search results are in - 29 July 2009(Link)
The Baltimore Sun - ClassicalArchives.com reveals most searched items; Alsop beats Pavarotti - 29 July 2009(Link)
1800blogger - Classical Gas - 28 July 2009 (Link)
CLASSICAL ARCHIVES CELEBRATES THE SPLENDOR OF AMERICAN MUSIC - Interview With American baritone, Thomas Hampson and New One-Click Concerts Featured Throughout July (PDF, 25k)
Classical Archives showcases the NY Phil celebration of Lorin Maazel's tenure and presents a review of Sony's new release Bach in Havana. (PDF, 24k)
KUHF Houston Public Radio, The Front Row Interview - 26 May 2009 (Link)
Interview Alert - Classical Archives CEO: New online site designed to spur classical music renaissance - 26 May 2009 (PDF, 18k)
The Classical Archives Launches the Ultimate Classical Music Destination - 19 May 2009 (PDF, 19k)
Wall Street Journal - New Ways to Buy Bach Online - 8 May 2009 (Link)
GLAST Prelude - 11 Jun 2008 (PDF, 19k)
Sergei Kondrashev, Conductor, Artist Of The Month - 1 Dec 2005 (PDF, 51k)
Elisso Virsaladze, Piano, Artist Of The Month - 26 Oct 2005 (PDF, 53k)
Andrei Eshpai, Composer, Artist Of The Month - 29 Sep 2005 (PDF, 51k)
Roberto Poli, Piano, Artist Of The Month - 2 Sep 2005 (PDF, 54k)
Classical Archives Selected as Music Resource by the California Learning Resource Network - 16 Aug 2005 (PDF, 52k)
Eduard Grach, Violin, Artist Of The Month - 2 Aug 2005 (PDF, 55k)
Send It - 25 May 2005 (PDF, 52k)
Great Gifts - 19 Apr 2005 (PDF, 106k)
Media Advisory and Press Demo Offer - 25 Mar 2005 (PDF, 24k)
CMA-KQED - 18 Nov 2003 (PDF, 23k)

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