In 2012, two classical pianists sought to record their first albums but were dismayed by the limited available options. They set out to pursue a utopian dream: to invent a new way of doing classical. The project they founded is called ODRADEK, after Kafka’s mythical creature. The label quickly established itself as an ethical producer of outstanding cultural products, now representing hundreds of musicians worldwide. And it is currently involved in developing core technologies at the frontiers of audio engineering science, renewing classical music for the age of artificial intelligence.
After a decade of activity and over 200 classical, jazz and world albums released, Odradek remains the only non-profit label artistically directed by its artists. Its rosters democratically vote through a blind audition process on which albums to produce, resulting in fresh, high-quality publications that offer something new to the music world.
Being a non-profit affords the label the freedom to choose its artists without regard to race, gender, or background, allowing it to focus on producing only the best, most exciting projects. Peer review ensures equitable access to artists, the highest quality standards to the public, and transparently demonstrates the artists’ merits. More than a label, it is a family. Its artists hold one another in mutual esteem and strive to make the musical world a more fair, varied, dynamic place, free from market-based biases.
ODRADEK now features world-renowned artists, such as Artur Pizarro, François-Frederic Guy, Michele Campanella, Alexander Lonquich, Chen Reiss, and Franziska Pietsch, as well as many world-renowned orchestras. It has also produced award-winning debut albums of young artists like Mei Yi Foo, Yury Revich, and Will Liverman.
ODRADEK’s classical catalogue includes major works of Ramon Lazkano, Lera Auerbach, Yuji Takahashi, Akira Miyoshi, Marc Monnet, Hugues Dufourt, Aurélien Dumont, Mikel Urquiza, Hugh Collins Rice, Elliott Carter, Jeffrey Mumford, and many other modern and contemporary composers. Likely due to its blind audition process, approximately two-thirds of its classical catalogue is modern and contemporary. Its albums have been awarded and praised as the best contemporary music album of the year (The Times, Tempo e Tempi, Pina Napolitano), the Charles Cros Award (Stillness, Ensemble Linea, by Aurélien Dumont), and have received many “Diapason d’Or”, Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”, Pianiste “Maestro”, “Pizzicato Supersonic”, “Record Geijutsu”, “Melomano”, “Choc de Classica”, among others.
But what sets Odradek apart is the diversity of its roster members and the exciting stories behind each of its projects. ODRADEK’s mission is always to tell those stories in the most meaningful and impactful way through stunning visuals and well-crafted holistic strategy. This expertise evolved into vist.co, the “Visual Storytelling Company”, which the label founded in Hamburg in 2022. This boutique creative agency quickly became the go-to for many of the world’s leading artists and major labels and continues to produce dozens of the most viewed classical artist trailers and portraits annually.
The label also launched a world-class recording studio, The Spheres, in Pescara on the Adriatic coast, suitable for recording anything from piano solos to full classical orchestras in a beautiful, state-of-the-art, natural acoustic space. The studio also serves as a live music venue, presenting the label’s artists to the local public.
ODRADEK owns a cultural technology holding company in Holland, appropriately named ODRATEK, under which it operates Neumz (the complete Gregorian chant in an app), B.io (centralised biography management for artists and agencies), Anonymuze (the blind peer review tool for teams), Sinfon.io (a turnkey native mobile app solution for cultural institutions), and Micpedia (the world’s largest database of microphones), as well as subsidiaries vist.co (based in Hamburg, the "Visual Storytelling Company") and Selsyn (in Linares, Spain, a commercial licensing partner of EPS Linares/University of Jaén).
ODRATEK was one of the primary architects of the top-ranked 2023 European Commission Horizon Research and Innovation project, named “Repertorium”. The project was awarded a 3 million euro grant to develop AI tools for digitising, studying, and diffusing European cultural heritage and to create immersive streaming technologies that virtually transport audiences into classical music halls by efficiently rendering them as manipulatable acoustic holograms at home. The evaluation praised the project, saying, “Cutting-edge technologies and research contribute exceptionally well to identifying ways of effectively promoting common European interests at a global level, leveraging resources of European Musical Heritage and forging closer cooperation between cultural, creative, and economic partners.” Metaverse-ready immersive streaming technologies will attract new audiences and allow European classical musical institutions to position themselves in a global digital market. Minus-one applications will allow musicians to study their parts with existing recordings by selectively muting or soloing their instruments.
ODRATEK contributes to the digitisation of the Solesmes archive of manuscripts for Oxford’s DIAMM, the recording of the complete Tridentine Rite at Le Barroux Abbey for Neumz, the creation of the sound sample library of orchestral instruments that trains the sound source separation neural network at The Spheres, the implementation of the resulting immersive streaming technologies in Sinfon.io, and the eventual commercialisation of the resulting core technologies developed, while vist.co oversees the project’s communication strategy, materials, and marketing.
As in Kafka’s short story, ODRADEK has no fixed abode, and its 28 team members work from 10 different countries. But you will always find them at the crossroads of culture and technology.