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Windham Hill’s Anne Robinson

Posted by hawot on June 11, 2008

profession:President and CEO of Windham Hill Records.

company’s annual revenue:Around $30 million.

the basic story: In 1976, William Ackerman, Anne Robinson and 60 friends each pitched in $5 and Windham Hill Records was born. Today, Robinson is one of the few women heading a major independent record company and is considered the grand dame of New Age music. (She prefers to call it “acoustic instrumental.”) In 1992, Ackerman sold his part of the business to German-owned Bertelsmann Music Group (owners of Arista, RCA Records, Zoo Entertainment, etc.) The Windham Hill label is as well known as some of its artists: George Winston, Alex de Grassi, Liz Story.
born: January 31, 1948.

educated: BA in history and fine arts from Stanford.

household members: Her husband, “a rabid reader who challenges my mind daily;” Makai, a golden retriever/Australian sheep dog mix; and Swimmer, her “15-year-old sweetheart” cat.

favorite music: “I’m crazy about the French ambient group Deep Forest, and the jazz pianist Bill Evans.” (There’s a baby grand in the office lobby, for artists and employees.) ” Lenny Kravitz is overrated and I couldn’t sell rap or grunge to save my soul.”

favorite places to hear live music: “Wetlands in New York, way, way, way downtown and a real dive. Fez, a trendoid place for contemporary rock and roll, also in NY.”

her hot artists in 1996: “subdudes: a rock and roll group from New Orleans and their new album Primitive Streak; master American Indian flautist Douglas Spotted Eagle; and Hawaiian slack key guitar music (artists include Ray Kane and Keola Beamer).”
favorite pastime: “Looking at art. Using my etching press to make monotypes. Collecting antique quilts.”

mentor: “Figurative artist Nate Olivera. I studied with him at Stanford.”

life goal: “Spend more time in my garden, getting hands in the dirt. When the days are short, I garden at night with a miner’s headlamp.”

life philosophy: “There is no such thing as a stupid question.”

on managing stress: “Remember that no one knows everything. Don’t be like men; often they take themselves too seriously in business.

how life might be different if she were a man:”I wouldn’t laugh as much. I wouldn’t get away with as much stuff. Women don’t realize how much power they have; they should take more advantage of it, and I don’t mean in the obvious traditional way.”
tech-savviness: “I rate myself an eight out of ten. We’ve been on the cutting-edge for years — Apple used our music for the advertising launch of the Mac.”

future plans: “Double the company’s size in five years and have more time in my own life. I have a burning need to make more art for myself.”

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