James Rhodes’ fifth album, fittingly entitled Five, will be released Tuesday, July 8. Rhodes returns with a program of works of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, the Gluck–Sgambatti “Orfeo Melody,” and Liszt’s arrangement of Robert Schumann’s “Frühlingsnacht.” The album, with the support of Signum Records and the follow-up to James Rhodes: Piano Man, is released on Rhodes’ new label Instrumental Records.
“This is an exciting new direction,” said Rhodes, “Even before I started making albums, I had long dreamed of forming my own label. One that had something new to say—great designs, brilliant musicians, thrilling repertoire. I want it to include a big presence on social media. I want to tour as a label and hopefully engage a new kind of musician and listener.”
Rhodes plans to use Instrumental Records as a creative platform to foster and develop both fresh new talent and established artists who are looking for a new approach to their careers. For Rhodes, who is presently filming a new series tackling music education, Instrumental Records is something of a call to arms: “If you feel like you have something to say both on and off the stage, whether you’re already on a label or have never recorded anything before, have won competitions or never gone to music college, I hope you’ll get in touch, and that we can start to do our bit changing things for not only classical music but the industry as a whole.”
In May 2014 Signum released James Rhodes: Piano Man on DVD—a television series for Sky Arts in the UK. In each episode Rhodes focuses on one big piece or a selection of shorter pieces around a certain theme and explains how they’ve given him solace in his darkest moments and why we should all listen. With MTV-style pop-ups courtesy of Dave Brown and illustrations by Ivana Zorn, Rhodes takes on a radical new approach to classical music. Contact Meredith Foster, firstname.lastname@example.org, for review copies.
Twenty-fourteen will also see the release of Rhodes’ live one-man show at West End Theatre and his autobiography, Instrumental published by Canongate.
Since his 2009 debut Signum recording, Razer Blades, Little Pills and Big Pianos, Rhodes has firmly established himself in the classical world as a pioneering figure. Reaching out through concerts, recordings and television documentaries to create new classical music fans, he remains unabashedly dedicated to the core repertoire that he performs.
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