Penguin Music is
a new independent record label based in San Francisco,
CA. Our goal is to bring classical music to a broader
audience by producing engaging new music and rarely
performed works which relate to contemporary experience.
Penguin’s mission is to make sophisticated
music that is fresh and accessible. Emphasizing
new and neglected works over traditional programming,
we seek to do in music what The Simpsons
did in television—take a sophisticated
product which rewards audiences for paying attention
out into a mainstream arena largely occupied by generic
This initiative is based
on our conviction that the long decline of classical
music is due to a failure of the industry rather
than a problem with the music itself. As we like to
say, classical music isn’t going the way of the
dinosaurs, it’s going the way of the mainframes,
the room-sized computers which were swept away in the
1980s by PCs and servers. There’s plenty of life
in the music itself, but the industry emphasizes old,
conservative products; offers too limited a selection;
and reaches too few people. We aim to make classical
music more contemporary, more accessible, and more portable.
seeks to establish a niche for independent classical
music. In many ways, we are applying the industry
model for independent popular music to classical music,
perhaps for the first time.
Stuffed Penguin’s debut release, The
Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld and Other Fresh American Art
Songs, from the programming to the packaging—with
its edgy photos of artists
Elender Wall and Bryant Kong pumping gas and mowing
the lawn in their formal wear—you will notice
a concerted effort to break away from classical tradition.
We think the stuffy, black-tie culture surrounding classical
music deters people from getting to know the music better.
We want to create an environment that’s more open
and conducive to learning.
traditional classical music is an exclusive country
club, then Stuffed Penguin is the friendly hotel bar
across the street. Both places provide refreshment,
but we try to make you feel welcome, so you’ll
stay longer and want to come back.