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Klaus Heymann profile

  • Story Highlights
  • From his native Germany, Klaus first came to Hong Kong in 1967
  • He later organized classical music concerts sponsored by Bose and Revox
  • He is married to prodigious Japanese violinist Takako Nishizaki
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(CNN) -- Klaus Heymann may not know how to read music or play a musical instrument, but he has been attending classical concerts with his parents since he was 9 years old. Today he is best known as a successful entrepreneur, who is a classical music amateur.

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Klaus Heymann, CEO of Naxos

Heymann began his career in his native city of Frankfurt, as an export advertising and promotion manager for Max Braun AG, a manufacturer of audio equipment, household appliances and electric shavers.

After working for an American newspaper, The Overseas Weekly, for five years in Germany, he came to Asia in 1967 to start up its Hong Kong office, and subsequently started his own business.

Heymann's Pacific Mail Order System began as a direct-mail advertising company, which later evolved into a mail-order firm for members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in Vietnam. It provided cameras, watches and audio equipment, including Bose loudspeakers and Revox tape recorders.

After the war in Vietnam came to an end, Heymann became the Hong Kong and China distributor of Bose and Revox equipment. In order to boost sales in Hong Kong, Heymann began to organize classical music concerts sponsored by the two companies.

Many of the artists he invited had made recordings for various classical labels, but when they performed in Hong Kong, they were dismayed that they could not find their recordings in the shops.

As a result, Heymann took the initiative of importing several classical labels, including Vox-Turnabout, Hungaroton, Supraphon and Opus.

Soon renowned for his successful concerts, Heymann was invited to join the board of the then amateur Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, which went on to become a full-time professional orchestra within a year.

Through his association with the orchestra, Heymann met his future wife, the prodigious Japanese violinist Takako Nishizaki, and they later had a son christened "Henryk," in honor of their meeting during her interpretation of Henryk Wieniawski's Second Concerto.

Over the next few years Heymann and Nishizaki made several recordings together for Heymann's new company, Pacific Music, including the complete works of Fritz Kreisler, and the famous Chinese violin concerto The Butterfly Lovers with the Nagoya Philharmonic in 1978.

When the manufacturing costs of compact discs started to fall in 1986, Heymann saw an opportunity for a budget-priced CD label. When he released the first five Naxos CDs in 1987 they retailed in Hong Kong at about $6.25 whereas other CDs were retailing at $15-20. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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