London, New York and… Leipzig. The Edition Peters Group now has a base in each of these three great cities. One of the most highly respected music publishers in the world, it relocated its German headquarters from Frankfurt to Leipzig in 2014.

“Our move to Saxony signified a return to our historical roots,” says publishing director Hermann Eckel, and he means it literally. Eckel and his 20-strong team work in the restored villa in Leipzig’s Talstraße that once belonged to Carl Friedrich Peters, after whom the publishing company is named. The company was managed from these premises 140 years ago – with editorial ambition, artistic flair and entrepreneurial skill. As German history took its tragic and eventful course, publishing houses bearing the name C. F. Peters were also established in London (1937), New York (1948) and Frankfurt am Main (1950).

Going back but looking forward

Having relocated to Leipzig, the music publisher now wants to take a decisive step forward into the future. Alongside commercial considerations, the crucial factor behind the move was the rich musical heritage of Leipzig – the city of Bach. “The Mendelssohn house, the Bach archive, St Thomas’ Choir, the Gewandhaus Orchestra – it’s all here, and all so near. The potential for joint projects is huge and we’ve already had some promising conversations about collaborations.” The 45-year-old publishing director aims to develop new products, and to do that he needs to find effective partners at both national and international level. The publishing house’s business model currently rests on three pillars. “The mainstay of our business is still the publishing of sheet music and educational works on musical topics. In addition, we manage the rights to pieces of music, such as the works of Richard Strauss, and lend sheet music to choirs and orchestras – for the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, for example.”

Lang Lang Piano Academy

In this age of digitisation and free online offerings, one of the greatest challenges facing the publishing industry is exploring new avenues. “It’s really important to create added value for the customer,” says Eckel. That is exemplified by a project with world-class pianist Lang Lang, who has popstar status. In the autumn, Edition Peters and a partner published the “Lang Lang Piano Academy” – a modern series of piano textbooks for children and young people. The talented Chinese musician aims to provide a creative approach to learning the piano. “Lang Lang is an outstanding artist who gets on very well with children and young people,” says Eckel of the official presentation event with the pianist. “He’s a true professional and yet still has his feet firmly on the ground.”

Warm and welcoming Leipzig

Eckel appreciates the open and creative atmosphere in the publishing company’s old-yet-new home of Leipzig. “There’s a lot happening in the city,” he says, and adds: “It’s wonderful how we’ve been welcomed with open arms and supported by the city authorities and local economic development agency.” Not all of his original team made the move to Leipzig, however. “Understandably, some of them decided to stay in the Rhine-Main region with their families,” says Eckel. The publisher is now looking for new employees to fill the vacancies. That won’t be difficult, as Eckel confirms that “the colleges of music in Leipzig, Dresden and Weimar provide an exceptional level of education. We recently took on two new sales staff who are very well qualified and highly motivated.” It feels good to be home.