Sony Classical lures major artists away from EMI Classics and Deutsche Grammophon in two surprise signings.

Sony has added two more feathers to its cap, announcing within the space of three days exclusive contracts with the Emerson String Quartet and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, formerly of Deutsche Grammophon and EMI respectively.

The New York-based Emersons move over to Sony Classical following a prodigious 30-disc partnership with the Yellow Label, spanning more than two decades and yielding benchmark cycles of Beethoven and Shostakovich. They picked up nine Grammys and three Gramophone Awards along the way.

The new signing will be consecrated when the ensemble – violinists Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, viola player Lawrence Dutton and cellist David Finckel – record Mozart’s three Prussian Quartets for release in November 2011. Their Sony debut will be followed by Schoenberg’s Transfigured Nightand Brahms’ String Quintet in G, Op 111, slated for 2012.

“We have long admired Sony Classical’s roster of great artists and the breadth of music that they record,” said the Emersons. “We are proud to join this roster and look forward to a new, exciting relationship with a great company. Our first two CDs will document widely diverse aspects of our repertoire, ranging from...

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