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Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



“enterprising" - Gramophone “admirable” - The Sunday Times “adventurous” - New York Times

I have had a long association with Simon Foster. Back in the mists of time (well 40 years ago) I had invited him to give a talk to the Hinckley Gramophone Society. At that time he was involved with Barry McCann in producing Classics for Pleasure (on cassette). We struck up a friendship that was to last. Having founded MusicWeb I invited him to become a CD reviewer for the site. One day in 2000 he asked if he could come and see me in Coventry. There was to be a new magazine, International Record Review launched by Barry Irvine and Simon was on the Board. We discussed the proposed format and layout of the magazine. For a while the magazine published one of MusicWeb's reviews each month and we published one of theirs. MusicWeb had no income and in 2001 Simon proved invaluable in finding MusicWeb a new home with Classical Network Ltd and we eventually ended up on the Harold Moore server in association with Unfortunately for us they could not make the website pay. were selling downloads - way ahead of the market!

Prior to forming the consultancy company, Music Company (MusicCo) with Melanne Mueller in 2000, Simon was a well-known classical record and management executive with continuous experience in the music industry for over 25 years. In both A&R and marketing roles, his major label positions have included Director of EMI Classics UK, founding Managing Director of Virgin Classics, and Director of BMG Classics UK. As an executive producer, he is responsible for more Gramophone Awards than any other individual. He is perhaps best known for signing Nigel Kennedy to EMI and the production of Elgar’s Violin Concerto and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, amongst others. At Virgin he created a legacy which is still scoring successes to this day. At BMG he signed Daniele Gatti and was executive producer of Lesley Garrett’s A Soprano Inspired. Melanne Mueller had been head of international marketing at BMG and finally Senior Vice president of Universal Music Classical in New York.
In 2008 they were then joined by another recording executive, Barry McCann, former Managing Director of EMI Classics UK He is responsible for Avies marketing, press, promotion, and international sales

In 2002 Simon, announced he was intending to set up a house label for MusicCo called Avante, which rapidly became Avie and MusicWeb offered to create a website for it. The label was to work on a completely different premise from any other label in that the artists would retain the rights to their own recordings. There have been numerous instances of artists on other labels losing this control and having no say in the release of their recording or even if it was to be deleted from the catalogue. Once deleted the artists were not able to take their recording to another label because they did not own the rights and so were left in limbo. This new approach has been a great success with well over 250 titles currently appearing in their catalogue Avie now run their own website at Once Avie was up and running Simon felt it would no longer be appropriate to continue reviewing discs on MusicWeb International.

MusicWeb International applauds the success of Avie and looks forward to reviewing their second decade of discs.

Len Mullenger

Simon Foster
Melanne Mueller
Barry McCann


































































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