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Amelia S. Haygood, 87; former psychologist founded classical music recording label Delos

March 31, 2007|Mary Rourke | Times Staff Writer

Amelia S. Haygood, founder of Delos International, a classical music recording company based in Los Angeles, has died. She was 87.

Haygood died of cancer March 19 at her home in Santa Monica, said Carol Rosenberger, a company vice president and close friend.

In its 34-year history, Delos produced recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, cellist Janos Starker, flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and dozens of other well-known musicians.

The company pioneered themed series, with the Great American Composers and Lullabies for Children and Adults, among others. Most recordings have been made on location around the world, including at the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles.

"Especially with smaller groups, we went to venues that had their own beautiful, natural sound," said Rosenberger, who is a classical pianist and records on the Delos label.

Originally named Delos Records, the company became a leader in digital recording in the late 1970s, and was one of the first classical labels to produce CDs exclusively, in the 1980s.

For Haygood, classical music was always a passion but not her profession until she was 54.

Born Amelia Da Costa Stone on July 15,1919, in Gainesville, Fla., she graduated from Florida State University as a history major.

For several years, she was the editor and director of publications for the State Department's Interdepartmental Committee for Cultural and Scientific Cooperation in Washington, D.C.

In 1945, she married J. Douglas Haygood, a clinical psychologist, and relocated with him to Cleveland and later to Los Angeles. She got interested in her husband's field and studied clinical psychology in graduate programs at UCLA and USC.

She then worked for the Veterans Administration, developing programs for surgery patients, before she and her husband went into private practice together in Beverly Hills.

When her husband died in 1956, Haygood closed their office and worked as a consultant for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, where she developed a pilot program for juvenile offenders and their families.

She made her career leap to music in 1973 after seeing a close friend through a terminal illness. With $150,000 from savings, she started Delos in her home. She named it after the birthplace of Apollo, the god of music and healing in Greek mythology.

The company went through financial difficulties and filed for bankruptcy in 1988, but reemerged in a streamlined form three years later. Haygood remained executive producer of all recording projects until recent months.

She is survived by a stepson, Robert Haygood of Scottsdale, Ariz.; 13 step-grandchildren; and several step-great-grandchildren.

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