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Varèse Sarabande

Varèse Sarabande
Founded 1972 (as Varèse International)
Founder Tom Null
Chris Kuchler
Dub Taylor
Distributor(s) Universal Music Distribution
Genre Film scores
Original cast recordings
Country of origin United States
Location Beverly Hills, California
Official website

Varèse Sarabande is an American record label, distributed by Universal Music Group, which specializes in film scores and original cast recordings. It aims to reissue rare or unavailable albums as well as newer releases by artists no longer under a contract. The label's name was derived from combining French-born composer Edgard Varèse's last name with the musical term, sarabande, a slow Spanish dance.


Varèse Sarabande's roots trace back to 1972, with the introduction of a predecessor imprint called Varese International. The first LP release was Lumiere by Dub Taylor. Varèse International Records was originally conceived as an avant garde classical label. In the years that followed, under the management of the founder–owners, Dub Taylor and Chris Kuchler, the label expanded its catalogue to include jazz, classical and other genres of recordings. In 1977, Tom Null's Sarabande Records merged with Varèse International to form Varèse Sarabande Records. The early LP issues of the label were reissues of classical recordings from the American Decca, Remington and JVC labels. The first film soundtrack LP album was released in 1978.

Originally founded in 1977 by Tom Null, Chris Kuchler and Dub Taylor, this label was first stationed at 6404 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. During its early years, it issued classical music and film score LPs and became the world's largest producer of original motion picture scores on compact disc. In 2003, Varèse celebrated its 25th anniversary by releasing two 4-CD compilation sets. Additional 4-CD sets were released in 2008 and 2013 to commemorate the label's 30th and 35th anniversaries.

Presently, the label resides at 11846 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, California and the soundtrack department is overseen by executive producer Robert Townson, who has long been an impassioned advocate for the art of motion picture scoring. To date, he has produced over 1100 CD releases and is a staunch supporter of the latest generation of composers, including Alexandre Desplat, Brian Tyler, Marco Beltrami, John Powell and Michael Giacchino. Townson's 1000th album, released in the summer of 2010, was a deluxe presentation of Alex North's Spartacus.

Varèse Sarabande releases oldies and reissues through its Varèse Vintage imprint. The label is overseen by Cary E. Mansfield, a veteran producer. Mansfield has been involved in all aspects of the music industry from sales to production for many major record labels including Universal Music and Motown Records, for which he produced the critically acclaimed Hitsville USA box sets. Varèse Vintage is dedicated to the preservation of multi-genre pop music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s and has produced over 600 releases.

The label also handles exclusive distribution for other specialty labels: Fynsworth Alley, Fuel 2000, Sunswept Music, Perpetual Music, 10 Spot, Water Music Records, Wildcat Records and Along the Blues Highway. In 2013, Cutting Edge Group, a British music services company and Wood Creek Capital purchased Varese Sarabande.

Colosseum Schallplatten

This German record label (based in Nuremberg) is Varèse Sarabande's European equivalent which markets most Varèse titles overseas and has done so since the inception of the 47000 CD series. The initial Varèse CDs sold in Europe were either imported from Varèse or pressed by Colosseum using JVC disc technology. Varèse pressed CDs featured a solid black design, while the Colosseum pressings had the same designs printed in outline red. Thus each label could print titles independently, and many Varèse titles that went out of print in the US were sometimes available from Colosseum.

After 1989, Colosseum made several CD pressings that were exclusive to Europe and, because of their connection to Varèse, were given a VSD catalogue number. Presently, Colosseum has expanded their output with their own series of releases apart from the Varèse line, with CVS replacing VSD on specific European pressings of new Varèse titles. Some VSD listings are occasionally visible on certain reissues and exclusive digital downloads.

The label is also the exclusive distributor of Varèse Club titles in Europe and occasionally has titles available long after they sell out in America.

Key staff

CEO / Producer: Darren Blumenthal
VP of Soundtrack A&R: Robert Townson
VP of Vintage & Soundtrack A&R

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