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Hyperion Records Founder Dies at 71

Ted Perry, whose Hyperion Records label explored a wide range of classical music, has died at age 71.

Perry died Sunday in a London hospital of lung cancer, said Mike Spring of Hyperion.

Perry, who had worked with several record companies in Britain and Australia, founded Hyperion in 1981 and drove a cab to keep the struggling operation going.

While driving, he heard a broadcast performance of the songs of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th-century German abbess, and contacted the artists. The resulting 1981 recording, “A Feather on the Breath of God,” was a success and put the company on a sounder footing.

It remained one of the company’s best sellers. “It pays for all my mistakes,” Perry once said.

Notable Hyperion projects included Leslie Howard’s 95-CD survey of Franz Liszt’s solo piano music, a project which took 14 years to complete; a 37-CD set of Franz Schubert’s lieder, with Graham Johnson accompanying a range of singers; and the English Orpheus series of 48 CDs which explored obscure English repertory from 1600 to 1800.

Hyperion built up a catalogue now numbering a thousand titles, reflecting Perry’s wide but specific tastes.

“I am not interested in Italian opera, although I like Puccini because I do have a sentimental streak; I am not generally interested in 20th-century music after Janacek; and I am not fond of French harpsichord music like D’Anglebert – the twiddles just get on my nerves. They even have twiddles on the twiddles,” he said in an interview with The Gramophone magazine in 1990.

Perry, who was divorced, is survived by a son and two daughters. Funeral arrangements were not announced.

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