2018 Full biography (1,064 Words)
Cellist David Finckel leads a multifaceted career as concert performer, recording artist, educator, arts administrator, and cultural entrepreneur, placing him in the ranks of today’s most esteemed and influential classical musicians. In recognition of artistic excellence and achievement in the arts, David Finckel and his longtime recital partner, pianist Wu Han, are recipients of Musical America’s Musicians of the Year award, one of the highest honors granted by the music industry.
David Finckel has been hailed as a “world class soloist” (Denver Post) and “one of the top ten, if not top five, cellists in the world today” (Nordwest Zeitung, Germany). In high demand as a chamber musician, he appears in over one hundred concerts each season, often in recital with pianist Wu Han, in piano trios with violinist Philip Setzer, and on tour with members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS) at the most prestigious venues and concert series across the United States and around the world.
Recent performances as orchestral soloist include Shostakovich’s First Concerto, the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as performances and recordings of the Dvorák Concerto, Britten Concerto, John Harbison’s Cello Concerto, and Augusta Read Thomas’s Ritual Incantations with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. David was invited to give the world premiere of Mirror Image by Grawemeyer Award-winning composer George Tsontakis, a work commissioned for and dedicated to David Finckel and Wu Han. He also premiered Pierre Jalbert’s Cello Sonata at the Aspen Music Festival.
Highlights of his 2017–18 season include international and domestic tours as a duo and collaborations with a stellar lineup of artists and ensembles. David Finckel continues his important work with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS); reunites with violinist Philip Setzer for performances of the complete cycle of piano trios by Beethoven; announces Music@Menlo’s sixteenth season; and completes the filming of a two-part television feature soon to be carried on several PBS stations. Recently, he 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.
In addition to his distinction as one of classical music’s most accomplished performers, David Finckel has established a reputation for his 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, whose catalogue of nineteen albums has won widespread critical acclaim. This is a milestone season as the label turns twenty in 2018. The Denver Post described ArtistLed as “a classical music breakthrough.” The label’s “Russian Classics” release, featuring works by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich, received BBC Music Magazine’s coveted “Editor's Choice.” His most recent album is a reissue of the beautifully remastered and reimagined 2003 recording of Dvořák's Cello and Augusta Read Thomas's Ritual Incantations with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Now 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. David is the founding Artistic Codirector of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley that has garnered international acclaim, soon to celebrate its sixteenth season. In these capacities, David has overseen the establishment and design of The Chamber Music Society’s CMS Studio Recordings label, as well as a 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 also serves as Artistic Codirector of Chamber Music Today, an annual festival held in Seoul, South Korea. The festival, now celebrating its seventh anniversary, is at the forefront of expanding the presence of chamber music in the Far East.
David Finckel has achieved universal renown for his passionate commitment to nurturing the careers of countless young artists through a wide array of education initiatives. For many years, he taught alongside the late Isaac Stern at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center. David is professor of cello at The Juilliard School, Artist-in-Residence at Stony Brook University, and Codirector of the LG Chamber Music School in Korea. He also leads the Finckel-Wu Han Chamber Music Studio at the Aspen Music Festival and the Chamber Music Encounters program at CMS.
David Finckel has been the subject of numerous feature stories around the globe in publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star, The Mercury News, Billboard, The Strad, BBC Music Magazine, Time Out London, and Tokyo’s Ongaku-no-Tomo. On television, he has appeared on CNN, NBC Nightly News, A&E Network’s Breakfast with the Arts, Channel 13’s New York Voices, and European Business News. He has also been a frequent guest on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Saint Paul Sunday, and other popular classical radio programs.
As cellist of the Emerson String Quartet for thirty-four seasons, David Finckel won nine Grammy Awards including two honors for “Best Classical Album,” three Gramophone Magazine Awards, and the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded in 2004 for the first time to a chamber ensemble; and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music, Bard College, and Middlebury College.
Born into a family of cellists, David Finckel began his musical studies with his father. At the age of 15, he made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations as winner of the orchestra's junior competition, and two years later returned to capture the senior division prize and make another solo appearance with the orchestra, performing the Schumann Concerto. At 17, David Finckel played for Mstislav Rostropovich, and soon after became the great cellist's first American pupil. His studies spanned a nine-year period, culminating in a performance of Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante with the Basel Symphony under Rostropovich's direction. He was the first winner of the New England Conservatory’s Piatigorsky Artist Award, chosen from an international field for his excellence as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher.
For more information, please visit www.davidfinckelandwuhan.com.