Edna Landau
Edna in the News
February 26, 2000
IMG Artists Managing Director Edna Landau Goes Extra Mile for Her Artists
Edna Landau with Itzhak Perlman
Edna Landau with Itzhak Perlman

CNN Movers, CNN.com

Host, Jan Hopkins


IMG Artists Managing Director Edna Landau Goes Extra Mile for Her Artists

Aired February 26, 2000 - 3:30 p.m. ET


JAN HOPKINS, HOST (voice-over): The one critic Itzhak Perlman listens to is his friend and manager, Edna Landau. She's a tough grader, but she's fair.

PERLMAN: It is also a give and take between a manager and a artist, at least it should be, and with us, it is.

HOPKINS: Edna Landau, once a teacher, to more than 1,500 music students, is not what you would expect of a bigtime international talent agent. Landau is managing director at IMG Artists North America. It's a branch of same IMG that promotes famous sports figures like Tigers Woods and Evander Holyfield. This New Yorker, with 16 grandchildren, is managing the careers of more than 120 classical music superstars.

(on camera): You've had other managers.


HOPKINS: How is she different from others?

PERLMAN: Let's put it this way, Edna's reputation as a manager is pristine, may I just say that, and for me, that's wonderful. Edna is my confidant, you know. You know we discuss things, you know.

LANDAU: I'm in public eye a lot, and I have to think fast on my feet, and I have to work with psychological acumen, and try to be tactful and graceful, and my mother is a woman of great grace. She's been a tremendous source of inspiration to me, teaching me how to handle situations. HOPKINS (voice-over): Edna's mother provides her with a sense of grace. Her father, a dentist fascinated by Mozart, has always encouraged her love of music. Bringing these influences together in her work makes her a confidante to many of her artists.

LANDAU: It's the psychological aspect of how to help them and work with them in a very vulnerable world that they live in, because they set their feet out on stage every single day practically. They get critics in the newspaper -- critiques in the newspaper all of the time. There is not that much privacy for them when they are performing their craft, and that takes a toll on them, and makes them vulnerable. So, I see my role is to help them reward the pitfalls as I see them. If I see them coming, I help them realize it. And the young ones in particular.

HOPKINS: Edna's dedication to artists has paid off, with nominations in 10 different categories at this year's Grammy Awards.

LANDAU: We don't put artists on roster that really truly don't believe in. It is tempting, sometimes, when someone wins a competition and you know there is going to be demand, for a while, anyway, or for whatever reasons, to put people on a roster because you think they are -- quote , unquote -- "bookable." I think our style of management is quite unique. We are intensely in touch with our artists. We tell them, everything, that happens, good or bad.

Let's see, I'm traveling on the 20th as far as London, and on the morning of 21st, I'm flying to Berlin, and the concert is that night. The next morning, I'll have breakfast with Hillary, and then I'm flying back.

HOPKINS (on camera): This personal touch means that you have very long days and long nights.

LANDAU: I would say I probably go to about 15 concerts a month, and they could be anywhere in the world, because I do travel a fair amount.

HOPKINS (voice-over): Going extra mile for her artists is one of the many qualities putting Edna Landau at top of every child prodigy's short list. When MOVERS continues, she describes her delicate approach to handling young stars.




HOPKINS (voice-over): Thirty-two-year-old Joshua Bell performed the music for "The Red Violin." Like the young prodigy in the film, Bell began performing professionally when he was only 14 years old. Edna Landau has been involved in managing his career since he signed with IMG Artists.

LANDAU: I just wanted to say hi to Josh. How are you? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:: Good, how are you?

LANDAU: Good to see you.

Hi there, stranger.

HOPKINS (on camera): You work with a lot of young artists. I mean, is that really your specialty, picking them when they're young and nurturing them through the process?

LANDAU: I can't honestly tell you whether it's a specialty to pick them when they're young. I seem to have a really good feeling for working with them when they're young, because it means working with them and working with their parents. I think the parents are very, very central to all of this. And there have been young artists who have been recommended to us that we have decided not to take, because we didn't really think that we could work with the parents.

A young artist who's in school needs to have friends, needs to have hobbies. They should perform once a month, at most, over the course of the year. Their confidence skills built at a young age, but they have to deal with quite a lot out there. And they should play things many times over before they go out and play at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hal.

I want to tell you, I have been in the very happy position of making comments to you for years after performances. and it's kind of hard to do that, because you say everything in your performance, and there is really not very much that one feels humbly able to say after one of your concerts.

I hope you are blessed with much good health and your family should be blessed with much good health so that you could continue to bring us all so much pleasure for many, many, many years.


HOPKINS: You've sent young artists to her. Has she helped?

PERLMAN: Well, absolutely. The thing is that I trust her. You see, because the thing that is managers sometimes have a tendency to be, shall we say, overly enthusiastic. And the thing is, that when I like somebody, I said, well, if this person is very, very young, I say, well, this person has a wonderful future, but they need to be handled with kid gloves, and I know that and Edna and I think along the same line, and therefore, I trust her.

HOPKINS (voice-over): Itzhak Perlman suggested that 11-year-old violinists Rachel Lee be added to IMG's roster. She performed at the Grammy Awards.

LANDAU: When he first mentioned her to me, I said no, not because I didn't want to represent Rachel Lee, but because I felt that our client load was just getting so heavy. I didn't want to take on a young artist and not be able to do justice by them. He accepted that reluctantly and went away, and then about three or four months later, he came back, and he said, I have to ask you again, please take on Rachel Lee, and so I thought about it some more, and I said, you know, we must do this.

HOPKINS: Edna's expertise handling child stars comes from years spent in a classroom. She has a masters in musicology from City University of New York. She also taught at the High School of Music and Art.

LANDAU: We want to work with someone who is one not going to turn out be really neurotic in later years. It's beginning of establishing a friendship as well as a business relationship. We give them a chance to ask us business questions, but we don't usually ask business questions or discuss business too much with an 11-year-old. But they don't stay youngsters for very long, and they are aware of what it means to be doing these very high-profile engagements, and they get very excited about it.

I love teaching, and I love being I love being with my students, and the challenges of winning them all over and getting them to really be productive. But it was very exhausting. And I loved music itself more than I even loved teaching music, so I decided that I really wanted to be amongst music professionals, and be in the concert hall and interacting with musicians.

HOPKINS: Edna Landau went from public school music teacher to managing director of one of the largest international arts management companies in the world. A momentous meeting with IMG's CEO Mark McCormick was the turning point in her life. Details on why a legendary sports manager needed a music teacher's perspective, next, on MOVERS.




LANDAU: I think that anybody who's musical wants their child to be musical, but I was also keenly aware that you can do harm if you push a child doesn't have show the natural tendency.

HOPKINS (voice-over): Edna Landau doesn't like stage mothers, and she's not a stage mother herself. But she was happy to see her son Elie follow in her footsteps. He is a company manager for Broadway's "Kiss Me Kate."

ELIE LANDAU, ASSOCIATION CO-MANAGER, "KISS ME KATE": It went from my mother and I in a one-bedroom apartment, you know, suddenly, you know, Itzhak Perlman on phone. Oh, Itzhak Perlman. Well, that's a pretty big name, OK. It was a little awe inspiring.

HOPKINS: In 1972, Edna given up teaching to care for her newborn son Elie. A year later, she took on part-time job with a nonprofit arts agency, Young Concert Artists. After five years with the group, Edna met her future business partner, Charles Hamlin.

LANDAU: I didn't tell you raise your glasses, but you know, please, have a drink, enjoy.

It was a magical combination from day we met. We were both schoolteachers. We were both very idealistic and loved music more than anything in the world. It's just clicked. It was great.

HOPKINS (on camera): And, so you became partners?


OK, let me take a moment to go over what I can say about Itzhak, and in conjunction with your own efforts so far.

HOPKINS: How did you go from this small agency to IMG?

LANDAU: Well, we were borrowing a lot of money. And yours truly started to get very worried, because I hadn't any idea how we were going to pay it back. So one day I said to Charles, this has to stop, we have to find investors. In the process of doing that, though, we got to meet James Wolfenson (ph), who at the time, was chairman of Carnegie Hall, and we went to Mr. Wolfenson, and we said, do you know people who might want to invest in us? And he said -- he looked at our materials, and he said, I don't know that I know of anybody, he said, but my friend Mark McCormick wants to get into the music business. And a day or two later, we got a call from IMG saying come on over to the General Motors building and meet with us, and that's how it started.

HOPKINS (voice-over): In 1984, Landau got the opportunity of a lifetime, to start one of the most prestigious arts agencies in the world, using IMG's money.

LANDAU: I think that one of the prime reasons that -- one of the motivations for going into the arts management business for Mark McCormick was that he was friendly with Kiri Te Kanawa, the world renowned opera star, and they often meet on the golf course, and he had the feeling that she could benefit from the kinds of activities and expertise that IMG had. He saw the long-term career for her, and the opportunity to do endorsements, to do television, and all kinds of special projects, but he didn't really have anybody in the company that knew the arts world.

HOPKINS: Edna now manages the North American career of opera star Kiri Te Kanawa, who sang on the first light at the millennium on the beach of Gisborne, New Zealand.

Landau's expertise in art world paid off. She teamed up with IMG, and in 1999, the company was worth an estimated $1.2 billion dollars. The arts branch is one of IMG's top five earnings divisions. Edna Landau's clients contributed heavily to the company's strategy cross-marketing with the sports division.


HILLARY HAHN, CLASSICAL ARTIST: You give them the gift of your music, and then, in the end, they thank you with their applause.


HOPKINS: Nineteen-year-old violinists Hillary Hahn appeared in a recent "Mister Rogers."


FRED ROGERS, "MISTER ROGERS": I like, the composer Bach a lot, and I think you play some of Bach's music, don't you?

HAHN: Sure do.

ROGERS: Would you now.

HAHN: Sure. I'll play something that he wrote -- it's a part of one of his pieces. It's kind of fast.




HOPKINS: Traveling the world in search of perfect venues, securing concerts and cultivating new talent demands most of Edna Landau's attention. However, every Friday at sundown, she leaves the hectic world of talent management behind to observe the Jewish sabbath. How she keeps herself from burning out, next on MOVERS.




HOPKINS (voice-over): Cultivating the careers of some of the world's greatest artists is what Edna Landau does six days of the week, but the seventh day brings her home. An observant Jew, she does not work during the sabbath. Edna cooks the sabbath meal from scratch, just like her mom.

LANDAU: My mom is a terrific baker and cook. And it was against her principles to ever go into a bakery. She baked everything herself.

HOPKINS: Edna's home has been filled with the smells of home cooking since childhood. Inheriting her love for cooking from her mother, she got her ear for music from her father.

LANDAU: I think that I was the only musical child of four daughters. And therefore, I was started on piano lessons at an early age by my father, who was very musical and so very happy to have a daughter who was also interested. It was a special bond that I had with him that my sisters didn't, and I really treasured it.

Hi dad. It's great to talk to you. We've been talking about you. Well, I have been cooking, and I'm still cooking, and I'm going to go on cooking.


HOPKINS (on camera): Your father loved Mozart particularly, and he did some kind of sleuthing about Mozart, didn't he?

LANDAU: Yes, I often refer to my father as the musical Sherlock Holmes of 18th century. One of the interesting things that happened was back in about 1973, he was walking around Greenwich Village, as he was wont to do on Friday afternoons, and he came across a fragment of a manuscript in one of these shops.

HOPKINS: Edna's father was never trained in classical music history, but his instincts as an amateur Mozart historian told him that the fragment he found was written by the greatest musical prodigy of all time.

(on camera): He bought it, I assume.

LANDAU: He bought the fragment for probably very little money at the time. And it later turned out that Mozart had written a horn concerto that was never published and never completed, but he had started it. And after he died, his son Carl gave pieces of it away to people who wanted memorabilia of Mozart. He cut it up into pieces, if you can believe it, and gave it out to various people, and so these fragments got dispersed around the world.

There's no question that my father has, in his love of music, and the constant music in house, that he definitely influenced me.

And I remember a dress that I had to wear when I was about 5 years old or 6 years old. I was dressed up to look like a young Mozart, and I was asked to go the piano and play a little piece, as Mozart would have done in the time in his childhood, so that's one of my earliest memories.

HOPKINS: Now was that a good memory or a bad memory?

LANDAU: I remember my hands sweating, and thinking, why are they putting me through this?


HOPKINS (voice-over): It's not the first time Edna experienced serious stage fright. In 1972, she performed on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

LANDAU: I had sung in a vocal group for a number of years, a choral group. In 1972, the leader of that choral moved to Israel, and he asked whether I would co-direct it, and I got to conduct on the stage of Carnegie Hall, which was extremely exciting for me.

HOPKINS (voice-over): Edna has filled the house at Carnegie Hall more than once. Her artists perform there regularly, and it is her job to help fill the seats. She also fills her own house each Friday for the Jewish sabbath.

(on camera): He had a habit of giving you roses every Wednesday, no matter where you were, right?

LANDAU: Well, we met on a Wednesday, and for three years, he made sure that anywhere I was in the world, there was always a rose. So I would check into a hotel, and I would be extremely tired, and I would come into the room, and there was this beautiful rose sitting there. Somehow he managed to do it, and it was special, but I put an end to it after three years. But he is very romantic. And I must say, that in my life, my very fast-paced life, it's absolutely wonderful to come home to someone like that.

Let me think for one more second just make sure there wasn't something else.

You have wine?

OK, we should decide.

See you!

HOPKINS (voice-over): Whether in the world's premier concert halls or at home, this mover brings people and music together.


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