KD SCHMID Konzertdirektion Künstleragentur

The history of KD SCHMID.

Since being founded by Hans Ulrich Schmid in 1959, we have stood at the side of international artists, orchestras and event organisers, accompanying their careers and supporting their creativity.

1957
Klavierhaus Döll before opening © Schmid privat

Konzertdirektion Schmid was founded by Hans Ulrich Schmid. The young businessman originally wanted to become a professional pianist, but after completing his musical studies, his professional career took another path.Following his commercial apprenticeship, Schmid was quickly promoted to director’s assistant at the Hamburg piano manufacturers Steinway & Sons. In 1957 Schmid took his first step towards independence with business partner Alfred Döll and founded Klavierhaus Döll, a piano shop in Hannover’s Schmiedestraße No. 8.

1959
Hans Ulrich Schmid & Geza Anda © Schmid private collection

But Schmid was not to sell pianos for long. The concerts that took place in the cellar under the shop led to contract negotiations for pianists such as Karl Engel and finally resulted in the founding of Konzertdirektion Hans Ulrich Schmid.In the early years, Konzertdirektion Schmid represented artists such as Alfred Brendel, Helen Donath, Pierre Boulez, Sir John Barbirolli and Sir Georg Solti. Other artists such joined later including pianist and conductor Christoph Eschenbach who entrusted his international representation  to the company right from the beginning of his career.

1968/69
Cover of Journal © KD Schmid Archiv

The company published its first in-house magazine with a report on Eschenbach’s US debut at the invitation of the Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell.

Parallel to artist management, the company developed a tour department, which grew steadily over the years. The Hallé Orchestra Manchester under Sir John Barbirolli, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Georg Solti, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Colin Davis, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields all entrusted the management of their German tours to the still unknown Hans Ulrich Schmid.

1971
Michael Tilson Thomas © Schmid privat

The Boston Symphony Orchestra embarked on its first European tour under the management of Konzertdirektion Schmid. The orchestra was conducted by William Steinberg, assisted by the young Michael Tilson Thomas.

Schmid personally organised the first European tour of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Georg Solti and Carlo Maria Giuliani. The six-week engagement began with a recording in Vienna and included four concerts at the Edinburgh Festival, two at the Flanders Festival, and one each in Gothenburg and Stockholm. The performance at Frankfurt’s Jahrhunderthalle was televised and there were further dates in Hannover, Hamburg and Berlin, two at the Vienna Musikverein, three at La Scala Milan, one at the Munich Opera and two each in Paris and London.

1974
Murray Perahia © KD Schmid Archiv

In 1974 pianist Murray Perahia appeared on the agency’s books for the first time. A year later he was hailed by W.-E. von Lewinski in an article for the company’s in-house magazine as a “distinguished representative of the young generation”.

1976
Pierre Boulez © Schmid privat

Schmid arranged for Pierre Boulez to conduct Patrice Chéreau's legendary Ring of the Nibelungen at the Bayreuth Festival. Other prominent names included Wolfgang Schöne, Hans Sotin, Doris Soffel and Edda Moser. In the 1970s the tours of more American orchestras followed, including the Cleveland Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Boulez, the National Symphony Orchestra Washington under Antal Doráti and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under André Previn. In the field of song, the representation of Helen Donath was soon complemented by personalities such as Janet Baker, Nicola Gedda and Edith Mathis.

1976
Logo 1976 © KD Schmid Archiv

The vocal department of Konzertdirektion Schmid merged with the Bueker agency to form Bueker/Schmid Management, thus expanding the list of prominent names.

1980
Valerie and Sir Georg Solti © Schmid privat

During the 1980s Schmid concentrated his personal energies on planning orchestra tours and the management of a few selected conductors including Dennis Russell Davies, Sir Colin Davis, Antal Doráti, Eugen Jochum, André Previn, Sir Georg Solti and Günter Wand.

Konzertdirektion Schmid took over the Amsterdam agency Interartists under Managing Director Hanna Zubrzycka. This first step towards international artist management was a natural development in Schmid’s long- standing and close collaborations with various Dutch orchestras, including the Concertgebouw Orkest, the Residentie Orkest Den Haag and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. 

1984
Mitsuko Uchida © Christian Steiner / Philips Classics

Konzertdirektion Schmid took on the representation of Yo-Yo Ma and Mitsuko Uchida.

1986
Håkan Hardenberger © Svensk Konsertdirektion AB

Cornelia Schmid joined the Artist Management Department at the family business after completing her studies and garnering practical experience at Harold Holt in London and Interartists in Amsterdam. Her personal charges included the artists Jorge Bolet, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Lynn Harrell, Håkan Hardenberger, Marek Janowski, Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman.

1992
Magazincover mit Sabine Meyer © Fonoforum Nov 1996

The PR Department of Konzertdirektion Schmid was established to provide additional services to artists and orchestras represented by the agency.

1994
Cornelia Schmid © KD Schmid Archiv

Hans Ulrich Schmid withdrew from active management and Cornelia Schmid took over the management of the company.

1998
Shared offices at Addison Bridge Place London © KD Schmid Archiv

Konzertdirektion Schmid established a London office in close cooperation with Van Walsum Management.  As the sole employee and director of KDS London, Karen McDonald initially took care of the general management of artists represented by the company, especially in the UK, Scandinavia and Australia. Further international general management contracts followed and the London office began to create a name for itself as a boutique agency with artists including Andris Nelsons, Håkan Hardenberger, John Storgårds and Baiba Skride. In 2006 the office moved into its own premises at the heart of London's Covent Garden theatre district where it now employs 12 people.

2004
Hans Ulrich Schmid © KD Schmid Archiv

In recognition and thanks for his achievements as one of Europe's most important music managers of the twentieth century, Hans Ulrich Schmid was presented with a book of personal letters, photos and dedications from the numerous American orchestras and their respective chief conductors most closely associated with Konzertdirektion Schmid over the decades. Four years earlier Schmid was awarded for his life's work by the International Arts Managers Association (IAMA).

2005

Konzertdirektion Schmid received a state sponsorship prize from the City of Hannover for running a successful women- and family-friendly business model.

2009
Festkonzert in Hannover © KD Schmid Archiv

Konzertdirektion Schmid celebrated its 50th anniversary in Hannover with associate partners and artists from around the world.

With nearly 30 members of staff, some 40 orchestral tours per season, approximately 60 artists on its roster, its own PR department, an office in London and concert series in various cities, Konzertdirektion Schmid had grown from a family-oriented business with a long tradition into a medium-sized concern with a worldwide network of contacts.

2011
Building of Berlin office © KD Schmid Archiv

Konzertdirektion Schmid opened a branch office at Charlottenstr. 43 in Berlin with a focus on PR and artist management. The office with 4 employees later relocated to a modern building at the heart of Kreuzberg where it continues to the present day to develop the international careers of important artists including Gustavo Gimeno, Cameron Carpenter, Harriet Krijgh and the piano duo Arthur and Lucas Jussen.

2012
Hans Ulrich Schmid © KD Schmid Archiv

Konzertdirektion’s founder, Hans Ulrich Schmid, passed away. Until the end, he continued to take great interest in the current developments of “his” company. His personality and commitment continue to set an example for the company in all its endeavours.

2013

Following the departure of Burkhard Glashoff, a new company structure emerged. Cornelia Schmid took over the strategic planning and management of the Orchestra Department. Karen McDonald took over the strategic planning and management of the overall agency becoming Managing Director of Konzertdirektion Schmid in Hannover. Julia Albrecht assumed management of the artist agency in Hannover.

Konzertdirektion Schmid also entered into a strategic partnership with Konzertdirektion Dr. Rudolf Goette in Hamburg. This was the result of the long-standing relationship between the Funke and Schmid families and Burkhard Glashoff as Goette's new managing director. Konzertdirektion Goette is also a second-generation, owner-managed company and the leading classical music promoter in Northern Germany, making it an ideal partner for Konzertdirektion Schmid. 

2014

Cornelia Schmid was presented with the Rhinegold Award 2014 in the category of Artist Manager of the Year.

The Rhinegold Award honoured Schmid and Konzertdirektion for their many years of successful work, especially in the field of British orchestra tours.

2018

This year we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our London office.

Together with a Hamburg advertising agency, we have redeveloped the entire corporate design of KD SCHMID - from the logo and the on- and offline communication to our guiding principle

"Your music means the world to us"