David Finckel, cello, & Wu Han, piano
Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year, cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han rank among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. 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. London’s Musical Opinion said of their Wigmore Hall debut: “They enthralled both myself and the audience with performances whose idiomatic command, technical mastery, and unsullied integrity of vision made me think right back to the days of Schnabel and Fournier, Solomon and Piatigorsky.”
In high demand year after year among chamber music audiences worldwide, the duo appears each season 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, St. Cecelia Music 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. Recent highlights include performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Savannah Music Festival, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Celebrity Series, Chamber Music Northwest, and Yale University. The duo’s international engagements have taken them to Mexico, Canada, the Far East, and Europe to unanimous critical acclaim. The 2013–14 season features numerous performances with violinist Philip Setzer, including a program of Dvorak’s Piano Trios, as well as Beethoven’s Triple Concerto; and countless duo appearances nationwide.
Beyond the duo’s recital activities, David Finckel served as cellist of the Emerson String Quartet for thirty-four seasons, during which he garnered eight 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 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 established itself among the world’s foremost chamber ensembles, playing over 100 concerts annually on the world’s most prestigious stages.
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. In 2010, the duo released For David and Wu Han (ArtistLed), an album of four contemporary works for cello and piano expressly composed for them. In 2011, Summit Records released a recording of the duo performing Gabriela Lena Frank’s concerto, Compadrazgo, with the ProMusica Columbus Chamber Orchestra.
David Finckel and Wu Han have 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, they have appeared on NBC Nightly News, A & E Network’s Breakfast with the Arts, New York Channel 13’s New York Voices, CNN’s Turner Entertainment Report, and European Business News. They have also been frequent guests on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Saint Paul Sunday, and other popular classical radio programs.
In addition to their distinction as world-class performers, David Finckel and Wu Han have established a reputation for their dynamic and innovative approach to the recording studio. In 1997, they launched ArtistLed, classical music’s first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, which has served as a model for numerous independent labels. All sixteen ArtistLed recordings, including David Finckel and Wu Han’s recent recording of Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Trios with violinist Philip Setzer, have met with critical acclaim and are available via the company’s website at www.artistled.com. 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” award.
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 since Charles Wadsworth, the founding Artistic Director. During the 2013–2014 season, David Finckel and Wu Han will oversee several major international CMS tours including performances at the Mecklenburg festival in Germany; performances in Japan and South Korea; and a prestigious week-long residency at London’s Wigmore Hall. In this capacity, 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). David and Wu Han are also the founders and Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley that has garnered international acclaim, soon to celebrate its twelfth season. David and Wu Han oversee 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 Directors of Chamber Music Today, an annual festival held in Seoul, Korea. The festival, now celebrating its third anniversary, is at the forefront of expanding the presence of chamber music in the Far East. In 2012, David Finckel was named honoree and Artistic Director of the Mendelssohn Fellowship, a program established to identify young Korean musicians and promote chamber music in South Korea.
David Finckel 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. They appeared annually on the Aspen Music Festival’s Distinguished Artist Master Class series, and in 2013 established a chamber music studio at the festival. The duo participates in various educational outreach programs across the country in addition to overseeing the LG Chamber Music School in South Korea under the auspice of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. David serves as Professor of Cello at The Juilliard School, and as artist-in-residence at Stony Brook University. David Finckel and Wu Han reside in New York.