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David Finckel


Artistic Director

Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Co-Artistic Director of CMS since 2004, cellist David Finckel’s dynamic musical career has included performances on the world’s stages in the roles of recitalist, chamber artist, and orchestral soloist. The first American student of Mstislav Rostropovich, he joined the Emerson String Quartet in 1979, and during 34 seasons garnered nine Grammy Awards and the Avery Fisher Prize. His quartet performances and recordings include quartet cycles of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Dvorák, Brahms, Bartók, and Shostakovich, as well as collaborative masterpieces and commissioned works. In 1997, he and pianist Wu Han founded ArtistLed, the first internet-based, artist-controlled classical recording label. ArtistLed’s catalog of more than 20 releases includes the standard literature for cello and piano, plus works composed for the duo by George Tsontakis, Gabriela Lena Frank, Bruce Adolphe, Lera Auerbach, Edwin Finckel, Augusta Read Thomas, and Pierre Jalbert. In 2022, Music@Menlo, an innovative summer chamber music festival in Silicon Valley founded and directed by David and Wu Han, celebrated its 20th season. As a young student, David was winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s junior and senior divisions, resulting in two performances with the orchestra. Having taught extensively with the late Isaac Stern in America, Israel, and Japan, he is currently a professor at both the Juilliard School and Stony Brook University, and oversees both CMS’s Bowers Program and Music@Menlo’s Chamber Music Institute. David’s 100 online Cello Talks, lessons on cello technique, are viewed by an international audience of musicians. Along with Wu Han, he was the recipient of Musical America’s 2012 Musicians of the Year Award.