New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary creative music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Dan Lippel, composer Peter Gilbert in 2004, and composer/engineer Ryan Streber in 2004, formed around the production of the first five albums in the catalogue. Many of the subsequent releases within those first years involved artists who also continue to be heard on recordings on the label in recent years - featured members of the International Contemporary Ensemble including pianist Jacob Greenberg, flutist Claire Chase, cellist Kivie-Cahn Lipman, soprano Tony Arnold, composer/percussionist Nathan Davis, clarinettist Joshua Rubin, composer/performer Du Yun, composer Dai Fujikura, composer/pianist Phyllis Chen, alongside others in the ICE community, and members of new music quartet Flexible Music, pianist Eric Huebner and percussionist Haruka Fujii, along with several of the group's associated composer and performer colleagues, notably John Link, Steve Ricks, Jeff Irving, David Laganella, Adam Silverman, Antares, Orianna Webb, Vineet Shende, Van Stiefel, Erin Lesser, and Mikel Kuehn, who released recordings or appeared as guests on others. In the first several years of New Focus, these musicians shared their artistry in fantastic recordings which shaped the direction of the New Focus catalogue and helped to lay the foundation for the label.
As with many other independent labels, we started this project because we wanted to have creative control over all elements of the recording and post-production process, and aspired to craft full length recordings that were cohesive artistic statements in their own right. As the label grew, several artists and colleagues coveted that same creative control, and we found value in facilitating a distributed release within a catalogue of shared sensibility. The New Focus catalogue has expanded in wonderful ways since those first nascent projects as long-standing artists and new faces have contributed their personally sculpted recordings. New Focus currently distributes a few sub-labels alongside the main catalogue that represent different strains of curation by various colleagues and organizations, including the International Contemporary Ensemble's TUNDRA imprint, the SEAMUS catalog (Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States), the Olde Focus division featuring premiere recordings of newly discovered early music, Minabel Records, and partner label Furious Artisans.
Ultimately, even in a perilous moment for the recording industry, many artists continue to produce and release beautifully crafted recordings. Live performance will always be the most vital way to experience music but recordings offer an intimacy and a breadth of dissemination that is unique and essential. Please take a few moments to get to know the wonderful recordings in our catalogue that these artists have shared. Thanks for visiting, enjoy the music!
- Dan Lippel
Several people not already mentioned above have contributed invaluable involvement, work, and indispensable guidance in the ongoing development of this label and catalogue. They are, in no particular order: Marc Wolf, Neil Beckmann, John Popham, Halldor Smarason, Colin Davin, David and Becky Starobin, Sean Hickey, Nils Vigeland, Reiko Fueting, Wang Lu, Marilyn Nonken, Scott Miller, Tim Ruedeman, Karola Obermueller, Adam Tully, Raymond Bisha, and Douglas Boyce.
New Focus Recordings has been distributed by Naxos of America since 2012.