2011/ 12 Full Biography (1127 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.

He 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, David Finckel appears each season in recital with pianist Wu Han. Named Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year, the duo regularly appears at the most prestigious venues and concert series across the United States, including New York’s Lincoln Center, Morgan Library, Town Hall, and 92nd Street Y; Washington’s Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institute, and Dumbarton Oaks; San Francisco Performances and Stanford Lively Arts; Wisconsin’s Union Theater; Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater; UCLA’s Performing Arts Series; Atlanta’s Spivey Hall; Chicago’s Harris Theater; Boston’s Gardner Museum; Princeton University Concerts; the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium; the Cleveland Chamber Music Society; New Orleans Friends of Chamber Music; Santa Barbara’s UCSB Arts and Letters; the Tulsa Performing Arts Center; and Aspen’s Harris Concert Hall. The duo is regularly featured in the country’s leading music festivals, and has recently performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Savannah Music Festival, Music@Menlo, and Chamber Music Northwest. The duo’s international engagements have taken them to Mexico, Canada, the Far East, Scandinavia, and continental Europe to unanimous critical acclaim. Recent duo highlights include debut performances in Germany and at Finland’s Kuhmo Festival, their presentation of the complete Beethoven cycle in Tokyo, and an appearance at London’s Wigmore Hall.

In 2008, with Wu Han, David Finckel gave the world premiere of Mirror Imageby Grawemeyer Award-winning composer George Tsontakis, a work commissioned for and dedicated to David Finckel and Wu Han. 2007 saw the world premiere of Pierre Jalbert’s Cello Sonata at the Aspen Music Festival. Recent appearances as orchestral soloist include Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, Shostakovich’s First Concerto and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as well as performances and recordings of the Dvorák Concerto and Augusta Read Thomas’s Ritual Incantations with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and John Harbison’s Cello Concerto with the Albany Symphony.

As cellist of the Emerson String Quartet, David Finckel has 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. Through its insightful performances, brilliant artistry, and technical mastery, the Emerson String Quartet has established itself among the world’s foremost chamber ensembles, playing over 100 concerts annually on the world’s most prestigious stages.

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 thirteen albums has won widespread critical acclaim. The Denver Post described ArtistLed as “a classical music breakthrough.” In Time magazine, Terry Teachout hailed ArtistLed’s Tchaikovsky disc as “a performance that ranks among the great chamber music recordings of the postwar era.” The label’s “Russian Classics” release, featuring works by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich, received BBC Music Magazine’s coveted “Editor's Choice.” A recent addition to the ArtistLed catalogue features David Finckel’s recording of the Dvorák Concerto and Augusta Read Thomas’s Ritual Incantations (world premiere recording). This season, ArtistLed released its fourteenth recording, an album featuring the Mendelssohn’s Piano Trios with violinist Philip Setzer (www.artistled.com).

David Finckel and Wu Han have served as Artistic Directors of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2004. They are also the founding Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley that has garnered international acclaim, now celebrating its tenth anniversary season. In these capacities, they have 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). In 2011, David Finckel and Wu Han were named Artistic Directors of Chamber Music Today, a new festival to be held annually at the Seoul Arts Center in Korea.

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, New York Newsday,The Mercury News, Billboard, The Strad, BBC Music Magazine, Time Out London, and Tokyo’s Ongaku-no-Tomo. On television, he has appeared onNBC Nightly News, A&E Network’s Breakfast with the Arts, Channel 13’s New York Voices, CNN’s Turner Entertainment Report 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.
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 another appearance with the orchestra, playing 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 Piatigorsky Artist Award, chosen from an international field for his excellence as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher.

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. He has appeared annually on the Aspen Music Festival’s Distinguished Artist Master Class series and in various educational outreach programs across the country. This season, under the auspices of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, David Finckel and Wu Han have established chamber music training workshops for young artists in Korea, intensive residency programs designed to bring student musicians into contact with an elite artist-faculty. He lives in New York with his wife, Wu Han, and their eighteen-year-old daughter, Lilian.

For more information, please visit www.davidfinckelandwuhan.com.

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