The independent record label ECM – Edition of Contemporary Music – was founded by producer Manfred Eicher in Munich in 1969, and to date has issued more than 1500 albums spanning many idioms. Emphasising improvisation from the outset, ECM established its reputation with standard-setting recordings by Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, the Art Ensemble of Chicago and many more and began to include contemporary composition – including Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and Meredith Monk Dolmen Music – in its programme in the late 1970s and early 80s.
To introduce Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa a sister label, ECM New Series, was launched in 1984. The New Series has since become a broad platform for a spectrum of composed music from the pre-baroque era to the present day. The label continues to issue premiere recordings of Pärt’s works, and a number of these reappear in Manfred Eicher’s Pärt-sequence Musica Selecta, issued on the composer’s 80th birthday on September 11, 2015. Other contemporary composers regularly featured in the New Series include György Kurtág, Valentin Silvestrov, Tigran Mansurian, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Heinz Holliger, Heiner Goebbels, Alexander Knaifel, Helena Tulve and Giya Kancheli, whose newest album Chiaroscuro (released October 2015) brings together violinists Gidon Kremer and Patricia Kopatchinskaja for the first time, to powerful effect.