Edwin Finckel

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Edwin A. Finckel
Edwin Finckel.jpg
Edwin A. Finckel at his home with his painting[1]
Born 23 December 1913
Died 2001
Nationality American
Education Corcoran School of Art
Known for Composing and teaching
Spouse(s) Helen
Children David Finckel

Edwin A. Finckel (23 December 1913 - 2001) was a jazz performer and arranger and a composer of songs and classical music.[2]


Finckel was born in Washington D.C. as the youngest of six children. His father was a patent attorney and both his parents were musical. All of his five elder siblings received musical training but Edwin was left to his own devices with regard to music, but his artistic talents won him a scholarship at the Corcoran School of Art. He didn't give up his interest in art but he also found access to a piano and within a year he had taught himself to play, albeit unconventionally and without the ability to read music. Finckel took to jazz although he also showed skill as a tennis player while still a teenager.[2]

Finckel was well regarded for his ability to improvise music and he went on to arrange others and later compose over 200 of his own melodies.[2] He was appearing professionally as a teenager and he went on to introduce string instruments into his arrangement for big bands.[3] His best known song may be Where is the One which was recorded by Frank Sinatra on his Where Are You? album.

Finckel wrote songs for the 1945 film George White's Scandals The photo illustrated here shows Finckel posing for a magazine picture where he has been chosen as a representative of the musical "Modern School" in 1947.[1] He went into teaching where he led the music department of the private Far Brook School in New Jersey for 39 years. At the school, he gave private lessons, conducted the choir and orchestra, and wrote much of the music that the children sing every morning and at special events.The school also employed his wife, Helen, as a secretary. Edwin retired after his 39 years and his position was taken up by Mr. F. Allen Artz III. Finckel continued to perform Jazz but in his forties he also wrote classical music. His son David is a professional cellist who performed and recorded his father's composition for piano and cello Of Human Kindness with his wife Wu Han.[4]

His wife, Helen, and Finckel ran a summer camp for 17 years until 1980. The camp was called "Point Counter Point" and it continued under new management after the couple gave up that commitment. He retired in 1990 and died in 2001.


  1. ^ a b [Portrait of Edwin A. Finckel - William P. Gottlieb, accessed January 2011
  2. ^ a b c Edwin Finckel, artistled.com, accessed 1 January 2011
  3. ^ Holden, Steven (10 May 2001). "Edwin Finckel, 83, Composer, Jazz Pianist and Music Educator". New York Times. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  4. ^ Edwin Finckel: Music for Cello, David Finckel and Wu Han, ArtistLed, 2001, accessed January 2011