Centrediscs. Record label devoted to Canada's 'living' concert repertoire, and an important promotional activity of the CMCentre. It was initiated during the tenure of CMCentre director general John P.L. Roberts (1977-81) with initial financial support from the Laidlaw Foundation, the Ivey Foundation, Floyd Chalmers, and the Canada Council's newly reinstated recording development fund. Additional support has been given by CBC radio music, which has provided the technical facilities and staff for each record, up to and including final editing of the master tape.
Although the CBC is an integral participant from a technical standpoint, artistic direction and post-production control remain in the hands of the CMCentre. Individual recording projects are chosen by an artists and repertoire committee, comprised of representatives from both the recording industry and the new music community, which accepts submissions from performers, ensembles, and composers. Only CMCentre associate composers are eligible for inclusion on Centrediscs.
Production of the first release in 1981 (a recording of works by members of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble, CMC-0181) was supervised by Rhoda Hall. That same year Susan Hicks became coordinator of Centrediscs and the CMCentre Distribution Service. She was succeeded by Richard Truhlar in 1988. Victor Davies also assisted with coordination of several Centrediscs projects during the label's early years.
By 1991 Centrediscs had produced 38 recordings with music by over 65 Canadian composers, many of them represented on more than one recording. The recording by Jon Vickers of Canadian art songs (CMC-2185) and Impact (CMC-2786), featuring percussionist Beverley Johnston and clarinetist James Campbell were nominated for Juno Awards. Impact also marked the beginning of Centrediscs' transition from vinyl to compact disc format, and was produced as a special undertaking for the International Year of Canadian Music. Another release worthy of special mention was the historical documentary recording of Harry Somers' landmark music drama Louis Riel (3-CMC-24-25-2685). Two Centrediscs recordings won the CMCouncil's Grand prix du disque: the solo album by Rivka Golani, Viola Nouveau (CMC-0883), and Canadian Classics Volume II (CMC-2987) with the NACO. In 1991 the Orford String Quartet's set of the complete quartets of R. Murray Schafer (2-CMC-CD-39-4090) was the recipient of two Juno Awards.
A key to the success and recognition of Centrediscs was the establishment of the separately incorporated CMCentre Distribution Service in 1981. In addition to Centrediscs, this mail order and retail service carries independently produced recordings of specialized music on a consignment basis; it has also been successful in securing international distributors for its rapidly-growing catalogue.