James Mallinson 1943 – 2018

On Friday, 24thAugust, James Mallinson, one of the of the leading record producers of the last 40 years, died suddenly after a very short illness. We have put up this site to allow those who wish to pay tribute to his life and work to do so. Please use the comment box below to post your memory or message.

On November 2nd a celebration of James’ life and work took place at LSO ST LUKES in the City of London. This is a video of the evening:

The evening included personal memories and tributes from James’ family and professional colleagues including  Bernard Haitink, Valery Gergiev, Lady Valerie Solti, Kathryn McDowell and Gareth Davies from the LSO, Thomas Ades, Joanna MacGregor, Olive Simpson and Bob Woods and Jack Renner of Telarc. It also included Bach from Joanna MacGregor, Messiaen from Joanna and violinist, Madeleine Mitchell, Mozart from Gareth Davies and an LSO flute Quartet and an extract from Beethoven’s Pastoral from Thomas Ades and the Britten Sinfonia.


James learnt his trade with Decca, whose exclusively contracted artists in the 1970s included Benjamin Britten, Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland, among many others. During his years with Decca he also recorded the first ever complete Haydn symphonies (all 104 of them) with Antal Dorati and a major series of works by 20th century composers including Messiaen, Ligeti, Cage and Maxwell Davies as well as Harrison Birtwistle and Philip Glass.

After he left to go freelance in the early 1980s he worked with all of the major record labels and with virtually every major classical artist of the late 20th century. By his own reckoning the only international name that he never actually recorded was Pierre Boulez. His recordings were highly respected, winning innumerable awards including no less than 16 Grammies.

As the recording world changed at the end of the ‘90s and into this century, James was already ahead of the curve, not only musically but technically. While he was instrumental in setting up the extremely successful orchestra-owned record labels including LSO Live, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Resound label and the Mariinski Live label with Valery Gergiev in St Petersburg, he also pioneered the use of SACD and other higher resolution recording and Surround Sound to get ever closer to the sound of a live performance.

His most recent project was an ongoing Beethoven Symphony cycle with the Britten Sinfonia and Thomas Adès.

James was a loving father to Jonathan, and a lifelong partner to Michelle. He loved them both dearly and continues to inspire them daily.

Click here for memories

Click here for James’ discography

The Times (of London) – obituary – Tim Bullamore
(The Times is subscription only but you can get two free articles if you register.)

Lives Remembered – The Times (of London) – Marita Phillips

Trinity Remembers

musicalamerica.com – Legendary Decca producer James Mallinson dies

gearslutz.com – James Mallinson  has passed suddenly

Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Remembering james Mallinson

Slipped Disc – Orchestras mourn on of the last great producers – Norman Lebrecht

Radio 3 – Breakfast with Petroc Trelawny.  Scroll forward to 43’45.

Stereophile – Remembering Record Producer James Mallinson by Jason Victor Serinus

London Symphony Orchestra – Obituary: James Mallinson

Rhinegold – obituary

The HiFi Reporter

Classic Source – James Mallinson has died – Tony Faulkner