The Divine Art Record Company was founded in 1993 by Stephen Sutton, a solicitor in North East England, and for several years was a part-time venture, until he gave up his legal career in 2002 to run the label full time. Form the start, the label has had two main aims: firstly, to produce recordings of rare, new and re-discovered music of quality, and secondly, to give the performers and (living) composers artistic control.
The first aim has been evidenced by the very large proportion of releases which contain world premiere recordings, even by some of the best known composers.
The second is shown by the fact that all but three of the now substantial catalogue of recordings have been commissioned by artists or composers, rather than by the company. In 1995, this principle was strengthened, by the introduction of the "artist-owned" system, which has been adopted by many labels in differing forms. Nearly all new Divine Art group recordings are now made under the "Agency System".
The main Divine Art label, being artist-led, contains music of many genres, from "mainstream" vocal, choral, orchestral, chamber and instrumental music from the 16th to the 21st century, and even 1930s classic dance-band items. Though featuring chiefly British artists, recordings have been made for the label in the USA, Australia, Estonia and Italy amongst others.
Alongside the main label, because the label's owner is a collector of vintage recordings, we introduced the "Historic Sound" series of CDs, re-mastered by Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio, using new techniques for audio restoration which produce stunning results - results which have been widely praised in the specialist press.
The company acquired the Athene label in 2003, and the contemporary music label Metier in 2007 (qv). We are planning the opening of a branch office, together with a retail music centre, in the USA in 2008.
Above all, the mission of Divine Art and its sister labels is to attain the highest quality of music, performance, production and packaging, and to bring to the listener The Spirit of Music".