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Renowned pianist and cellist to come to Sanibel

By Staff | Mar 6, 2009

Wu Han and David Finkel are much celebrated musicians. Individually Wu Han is a renowned pianist while Finkel is acclaimed for his talents as a premier cellist.

But together they are a musical duo who not only create a flawless performance but seemingly make magic in the process.

The duo will be performing at the Sanibel Music Festival at the United Congregational Church on Saturday, March 14.

The pair are the founders and Artistic Directors of Music@Menlo, a chamber music festival in Silicon Valley that has garnered international acclaim since its inception in 2003, according to the Milina Barry PR firm in NY. Wu Han has mesmerized audiences in solo recitals, in duo performances with her husband, and as soloist with the Pacifica String Quartet. David Finckel is the cellist of the renowned Emerson String Quartet.

The duo’s engagements take them each season to 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; the University of Chicago’s Mandel Hall; 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; 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, Santa Fe Chamber 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. Highlights include their debuts in Germany and at Finland’s Kuhmo Festival, their presentation of the complete Beethoven cycle in Tokyo, and their signature all-Russian program at London’s Wigmore Hall.

David Finckel and Wu Han’s wide-ranging musical activities also include the launch of ArtistLed, the first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, which, in 2007, celebrated its 10th year.

But aside from the acclaim and fame lies the heart of the talent – the couple themselves.

Wu Han and Finkel started performing as a duo 11 years ago after colleagues heard them play together. But playing together serves as a form of communication.

Wu Han said the practice of playing together as a couple takes discipline and focus. Maintaining the professional and personal sides of their relationship takes work and dedication.

“We’re very respectful of our dual profession,” Wu Han said.

Audiences get a chance to feel their embrace of each other through their performances.

“It’s a very intimate art form,” Wu Han said. “You need to play with someone you’re close to.”

On Sanibel the pair will be performing their pieces as stories, Wu Han said during a telephone interview.

“That should be lots of fun for people,” she said.

(Press reports from Milina Barry PR firm in NY contributed to this story.)