Over the last 15 years, The Music Room at Champs Hill, a private 160-seat concert hall in the West Sussex countryside, has become a venue of choice for recitals and chamber music, recordings and live broadcasts.
David and Mary Bowerman founded Champs Hill Records, an independent label dedicated to recordings made at the hall, young artists and new or under-represented repertoire, four years ago. The label now boasts almost 80 releases in its catalogue.
Among the first releases on the label was ‘Call me Flott', a collection of light-hearted songs with Dame Felicity Lott who enjoys a warm association with Champs Hill and gave the inaugural recital at the hall.
The Music Room at Champs Hill, and Champs Hill Records are run as not-for-profit concerns. David Bowerman says "It's not about making money, it's about giving people the chance to hear some of the finest musicians in the world, and about providing a platform for some of the marvellous young performers who are on their way up. With Champs Hill Records we're also keen to present relatively little-known music that is unlikely to stand a chance with the big labels."
Among artists who have performed or recorded at the hall are Sir Thomas Allen, the Belcea Quartet, Ian Bostridge, Christine Brewer, Simon Callow, Nikolai Demidenko, English Chamber Orchestra, Stephen Isserlis, Simon Keenlyside, Viktoria Mullova, the Nash Ensemble, Raphael Wallfisch, and Judith Weir. Additionally, Champs Hill often hosts live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3.
The array of composers represented on the label is diverse; Bach, Dring, Elgar, Esposito, Franck, Goetz, Howells, Ireland, Menotti, Messiaen, Poulenc, Rachmaninov, Röntgen, Schnittke, Schubert and Shostakovich and Thuille are just some of them. The work of contemporary composers features on numerous discs, including dedicated single-composer discs such as those of the works of Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Stephen McNeff.
Artists who have recorded for the label include the Allegri Quartet, Badke Quartet, Sophie Bevan, Mary Bevan, Katherine Broderick, Federico Colli, Alexandra Dariescu, Ivana Gavric, Thomas Gould, Sofya Gulyak, Graham Johnson, London Conchord Ensemble, Felicity Lott, Njabulo Madlala, Maximilliano Martin, Malcolm Martineau, Tom Poster, Roger Vignoles, Amanda Roocroft, Roderick Williams, David Rees-Williams the Schubert Ensemble, Ittai Shapira and Ksenija Sidorova.