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David Finckel & Wu Han




A new project
from David Finckel and Wu Han

When we established ArtistLed in 1997, it fulfilled our desire to produce recordings free from commercial constraints, uncompromised by the requirements of conventional recording companies. Since then, the scope of our musical activities has widened to include not only performing and recording, but also to leading musical organizations which serve the art of chamber music. As those organizations have grown and prospered, our advice as artists, thinkers, administrators, educators and communicators has become increasingly sought-after by a broad spectrum of the music industry: from students to professionals, from organizations to ensembles, from board members to arts patrons.

In celebration of the 20th year of ArtistLed, we decided to gather what we’ve learned through our experiences with and share it with all who might find it useful in their musical endeavors. Resource is a web-based storehouse of ideas, concepts, principles and information that could potentially contribute to happier and more successful lives for those serving music, either as performers or presenters.

The offerings for musicians here are largely directed towards younger ones, the biggest component being the six-lecture series titled Being a Musician, originally presented by David at Stony Brook University in 2013. The video series Cello Talks (now viewed the world over) has found a proper home within Resource, and a direct link to that project’s home site can be found in the Table of Contents. The section on presenting and producing chamber music is designed to be useful for anyone engaged in those areas, and the Inspiration section hopefully provides just what its title promises, for anyone who cares to access it.

The content in Resource may be downloaded, and may be reproduced with prior permission from ArtistLed.

Our best wishes and encouragement to all,
David and Wu Han

Section I: For Young Musicians

Today’s Young Musicians
Article on the musical environment of today and the challenges and opportunities it presents

A Musician’s Ten Commandments
Basic principles and practices for growing and sustaining a successful life in music

Being a Musician
A career course of six lectures (in transcripts) delivered at Stony Brook University. By David Finckel
Table of Contents
1. Who Am I?
2. What is an Artist?
3. Learning
4. Performing
5. Relationships
6. Working

Discussion Topics for Musicians
Eighteen thought-provoking suggestions for fruitful, productive discussions, lectures, interviews or articles

Twenty Reminders
Basics to keep in mind as we go about our daily musical activities

Section II: For Presenters

Guide to Chamber Music
A comprehensive overview of the chamber music literature

Ensemble Math
The instrumentation of all the standard chamber music ensembles, and all the possibilities resulting from re-configuration

Growing Audiences Through Presentation
The requirements of good presentation and the responsibilities of the presenter

Growing Audiences Through Programming
Using the repertoire to engage and sustain listeners

Thematic Programming
How to make thematic programs that tell stories and engage listeners

Programs by Wu Han and David Finckel
Music@Menlo’s festival programs; The Chamber Music Society’s Winter Festival programs

Essentials for presenters, promoters, and musicians

Section III: Teaching and Learning 

How to Prepare for a Workshop or Master Class
An extensive advisory essay on all elements of preparedness for, and getting the most out of master classes, workshops or private lessons

How to Take, and Give, a Master Class
Responsibilities of both the student and teacher

Evaluative Questions for Teachers
Three dozen aspects of performance to assess when teaching

Teaching Yourself
A musician’s guide to independent learning

For String Players: Making Your Own Decisions
Taking responsibility for your bowings, fingerings, and ultimately your interpretation

Section IV: Articles and Inspiration

An Interview with David Finckel
Topics include: the music industry today, challenges of touring, his own artistic evolution

Discovering Rostropovich
David Finckel describes his early attraction to the great cellist’s playing

Recording with Rostropovich
David Finckel’s first-hand account of the historic Schubert Quintet recording sessions in Germany

Wu Han: Commencement Speech
Delivered at Menlo School, Atherton, CA

Section V: Cello Talks 

Cello Talks

"Chamber music is so intimate that it’s the easiest way to pass down from generation to generation a way of living, the way of approaching music, the philosophy."

- David Finckel