French label founded in 1958 by Bernard Coutaz (1922-2010) for ancient and baroque music.
(Do not confuse with Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, a different label with different ownership.)
HM first subsidiary was founded in the USA in 1982 and then in UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain.
HM released more than 4000 records of pre-classical, classical and modern music.
From HM's earliest years, its repertoire choices were centred on the instrumental heritage (notably historical organs) and early and Baroque music. Alfred Deller began recording for Harmonia Mundi in 1968, followed by William Christie, René Jacobs, Philippe Herreweghe and many others. All these artists contributed to the renewal of musical performance practice by their careful attention to the original text, its context, and the timbre of the instruments used.
In parallel with its artistic expansion, Harmonia Mundi was also developing commercially, creating its own French distribution network in 1976. After its move to Arles in 1986, the company started to diversify its activities with the creation of a department for book distribution.
The year 1995 saw the beginnings of a network of retail shops intended to compensate for the disappearance of independent record dealers. Ten years later, the company's forty-three sales outlets in France and three in Spain play a key role in guaranteeing the independence of its editorial decisions and the expansion of the recorded repertoire.
HM editorial freedom is founded on the total financial independence (the company does not pay out dividends to its shareholders), constant growth (a turnover of 55 million Euros in 2005, 300 employees worldwide), and regular increases in production. In 2005 Harmonia Mundi's output reached the figure of fifty new titles in the classical repertoire alone. This successful track record has been saluted by the international press with accolades including Label of the Year 2003 in the Bristish magazine Grammophone, a Grammy Award for René Jacobs in 2005, and Label of the Year 2006 at the Midem Classical Awards.