DAVID FINCKEL & WU HAN
2018 Full biography (832 words)
David Finckel and Wu Han are among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. They are recipients of Musical America’s Musicians of the Year award, one of the highest honors granted by the music industry. The talent, energy, imagination, and dedication they bring to their multifaceted endeavors as concert performers, recording artists, educators, artistic administrators, and cultural entrepreneurs go unmatched. Their duo performances have garnered superlatives from the press, public, and presenters alike.
In high demand year after year among chamber music audiences worldwide, the duo has appeared each season at the most prestigious venues and concert series across the United States, Mexico, Canada, the Far East, and Europe to unanimous critical acclaim. Highlights of their 2017–18 season include international and domestic tours as a duo and collaborations with a stellar lineup of artists and ensembles. David Finckel and Wu Han continue their important work with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS); reunite with violinist Philip Setzer for performances of the complete cycle of piano trios by Beethoven; announce Music@Menlo’s sixteenth season; and complete the filming of a two-part television feature soon to be carried on several PBS stations. Recently, they joined CMS artists on a grand tour of the Far East with appearances at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Hsinchu Performing Arts Center and the National Concert Hall in Taiwan; and continued to expand the presence of chamber music in South Korea with the seventh annual Chamber Music Today festival.
They have been frequent guests on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Saint Paul Sunday, and other popular classical radio programs. For thirty-four seasons, David Finckel served as cellist of the Emerson String Quartet in addition to his chamber work, during which he garnered nine Grammy Awards including two honors for “Best Classical Album,” three Gramophone Magazine awards, and the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize.
In addition to their distinction as world-class performers, the duo has established a reputation for their dynamic and innovative approach to the recording studio. In 1997, David Finckel and Wu Han launched ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, which has served as a model for numerous independent labels. This is a milestone season as the label turns twenty in 2018. All nineteen ArtistLed recordings, including Wu Han LIVE II, Wu Han’s most recent release in collaboration with the Music@Menlo LIVE label, have met with critical acclaim and are available via the company’s website at www.artistled.com.
David and Wu Han are the founders and Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley now celebrating its sixteenth season. In their third term as Artistic Directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, David Finckel and Wu Han hold the longest tenure as directors since Charles Wadsworth, the founding Artistic Director. In these capacities, they have overseen the establishment and design of The Chamber Music Society’s CMS Studio Recordings label, as well as the Society’s recording partnership with Deutsche Grammophon (which includes CMS concert downloads made available through the Digital DG Concerts Series); and Music@Menlo LIVE, Music@Menlo’s exclusive recording label, which has been praised as a “breakthrough” (Billboard) and “probably the most ambitious recording project of any classical music festival in the world” (San Jose Mercury News). David Finckel and Wu Han also serve as Artistic Codirectors of Chamber Music Today, an annual festival held in Seoul, Korea. The festival, now celebrating its seventh year, is at the forefront of expanding the presence of chamber music in the Far East.
The duo’s repertoire spans virtually the entire literature for cello and piano, with an equal emphasis on the classics and the contemporaries. Their modern repertoire includes all the significant works, from Prokofiev and Britten to Alfred Schnittke and André Previn. Their commitment to new music has brought commissioned works by Bruce Adolphe, Lera Auerbach, Gabriela Lena Frank, Pierre Jalbert, Augusta Read Thomas, and George Tsontakis to audiences around the world. The duo has released “For David and Wu Han” (ArtistLed), an album of four contemporary works for cello and piano expressly composed for them. Summit Records released a recording of the duo performing Gabriela Lena Frank’s concerto, Compadrazgo, with the ProMusica Columbus Chamber Orchestra.
David and Wu Han have achieved universal renown for their passionate commitment to nurturing the careers of countless young artists through a wide array of education initiatives. For many years, the duo taught alongside the late Isaac Stern at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center. David Finckel and Wu Han have also launched a chamber music studio at the Aspen Music Festival. Under the auspices of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, they launched Chamber Music Encounters and direct the LG Chamber Music School, which serves dozens of young musicians in Korea annually. David Finckel serves as Professor of Cello at The Juilliard School, as well as Artist-in-Residence at Stony Brook University. David Finckel and Wu Han reside in New York.
For more information, please visit www.davidfinckelandwuhan.com.