Wu Han (pianist)

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Wu Han
David Finckel and Wu Han.jpg
David Finckel and Wu Han performing at Samford University in 2013
Background information
Born (1959-02-19) February 19, 1959 (age 58)
Origin Taiwan Taipei, Taiwan
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Pianist, Arts Administrator
Instruments piano
Labels ArtistLed
Associated acts Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Website www.davidfinckelandwuhan.com

Wu Han (born February 19, 1959) is a Taiwanese-American pianist, and influential figure in the classical music world. Leading an unusually multifaceted career, she has risen to international prominence through her wide-ranging activities as a concert performer, recording artist, educator, arts administrator, and cultural entrepreneur. She is currently the co-Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Today in Korea, and Music@Menlo in California.


Wu Han began her musical studies in Taiwan at the age of nine. Within a few years, she had captured first prizes in all of Taiwan's major competitions. At the invitation of The Hartt School in Connecticut, she traveled to America in 1981 to continue her studies. Wu Han studied with Raymond Hanson, Rudolf Serkin, Herbert Stessin, Lillian Kallir, and Menahem Pressler and attended the Marlboro Music School and Festival for two summers.[1] She has gone on to perform on the world's leading stages including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Washington's Kennedy Center, and Wigmore Hall in London. Wu Han collaborates with wide array of artists and ensembles including the Borromeo String Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Escher String Quartet, and St. Lawrence Quartet.

Wu Han performs and records frequently in collaboration with cellist David Finckel, whom she married in 1985. Since the 1990s, the two artists have toured widely year-round and have emerged as one of the most popular cello-piano duos on the musical scene today. Notable duo concerts include their performances of the complete Beethoven cycle in Tokyo and New York City. Wu Han and David Finckel regularly perform on all of the major chamber music series in the United States, as well as across Europe and Asia. They also appear regularly in trio performances with violinist Philip Setzer, clarinetist David Shifrin, and as a piano quartet with violinist Daniel Hope and violist Paul Neubauer.[2]

In recent years, Wu Han's repertoire has expanded to include numerous works by a cadre of leading composers. Works have been commissioned for and dedicated to the duo from Bruce Adolphe, Lera Auerbach, Gabriella Lena Frank, Pierre Jalbert, Augusta Read Thomas,and George Tsontakis, recorded on ArtistLed's 'For David and Wu Han' album.


In addition to her distinction as an accomplished performer, Wu Han has established a reputation for her dynamic and innovative approach to the recording studio. In 1997, Wu Han and David Finckel launched ArtistLed, classical music's first musician-directed and Internet-based recording company, whose catalog of fifteen albums has won widespread acclaim. BBC Music Magazine saluted the launch by featuring the company's debut album on the cover of its January 1997 issue. Wu Han is a controlling participant in every aspect of the recording process, from selecting the repertoire and recording venue to setting the sound, runnign the sessions, constructing the edits, and determining the final mix. ArtistLed's Grammy-award winning recording engineer is Da-Hong Seetoo.[3]


In 2003, Wu Han co-founded Music@Menlo, an annual chamber music festival and institute in Silicon Valley that brings to the San Francisco Bay are a lineup of accomplished musicians, scholars, educators, and musicologists, as well as a roster of gifted young artists, for an immersive three-week chamber music experience in the summer. Wu Han was also responsible for forging a media partnership with American Public Media, which serves as the exclusive broadcast partner of Music@Menlo.[4] In 2012, Music@Menlo celebrated its 10th anniversary. Music@Menlo is currently to embark on its 11th sold out season featuring over 70 events.

Wu Han was instrumental in the formation of Music@Menlo’s innovative live recording series, Music@Menlo LIVE, which commercially releases live recordings from the festival each year. The label was launched in 2004 and has been praised as “probably the most ambitious recording project of any classical music festival in the world” (San Jose Mercury News).[5] In 2002, Wu Han developed and trademarked AudioNotes, an innovative complement to program notes. The CD-based pre-concert listener guides are designed to offer audiences engaging introductions to many of the concert programs she has presented over the years.

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center[edit]

In 2004, Wu Han was appointed Co-Artistic Director of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City, where she currently presents some 200 concerts, lectures, master classes, and outreach events each season. The Chamber Music Society is recognized among the most important leaders in the field of chamber music in North America. In her capacity as Artistic Director, Wu Han spearheads the Society’s education initiatives, training program for outstanding young artists, new music commissioning program, national radio broadcasts, and nationwide touring. In this capacity, she has become recognized for having revitalized the organization via numerous programming initiatives. In 2013, Wu Han was invited to extend her appointment for a third five-year term, making her tenure the longest since founding Artistic Director Charles Wadsworth.[6] Wu Han also oversees The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's national and international tours and successful residencies.[7]


Wu Han’s fervent commitment to nurturing the careers of countless young artists has led her to take on an array of education initiatives.[citation needed]

In 2004, Wu Han created the Chamber Music Institute at Music@Menlo. The Institute offers a rigorous professional training ground and a wide array of performance opportunities to gifted young musicians who have been selected from conservatories, youth orchestras, and music programs nationally and internationally.[8]

In 2009, under the auspices of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Wu Han established chamber music training workshops for young artists in Korea and Taiwan, intensive residency programs designed to bring student musicians into contact with an elite faculty of artists including pianist Leon Fleisher and violinist Arnold Steinhardt.

As Co-Artistic Director of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Wu Han has been instrumental in the expansion of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two program that invites outstanding young musicians from around the world through audition to join the CMS artist roster for an extended residency that includes both performance and educational outreach opportunities. Under her leadership, the residency program has expanded from two to three years, and she greatly increased the level of participation of these young artists.[9]

Wu Han has presented master classes at venerable institutions throughout the world, and for many years taught alongside the late Isaac Stern at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Centre. She has also served as a member of the Artist-Faculty at the Aspen Music Festival and School for many years, and in 2013 established an annual chamber music studio at the festival.[10]


Wu Han has been the subject of numerous articles 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, she has appeared on NBC 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. She has also been a frequent guest on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Saint Paul Sunday, and other popular classical radio programs.

Personal life[edit]

Wu Han lives in New York City with her husband and musical partner, cellist David Finckel, and daughter.


  • Dvorak Trios with violinist Philip Setzer
  • Clarinet Trios with clarinetist David Shifrin
  • Mendelssohn Trios with violinist Philip Setzer
  • For David and Wu Han (contemporary works composed for David Finckel and Wu Han)
  • Schubert Trios with violinist Philip Setzer
  • Derek Han plays Mozart with Wu Han, Peter Asimov and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Russian Recital (featuring solo piano works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Skryabin)
  • Brahms Sonatas for Cello and Piano and Six Pieces for Solo Piano
  • Schubert Sonata for Piano D. 959 and Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano D. 821
  • Complete Beethoven Sonatas and Variations for Cello and Piano
  • Russian Classics (works for cello and piano by Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev)
  • Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Grieg and Chopin
  • Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Strauss and Franck
  • Tchaikovsky Trio and Kodály Duo with violinist Da-Hong Seetoo
  • Edwin Finckel: Complete Works for Cello and Piano
  • CMS Studio Recordings: Elgar and Walton
  • CMS Studio Recordings: Beethoven and Dvořák
  • DG Concerts: Bartok/Dvořák


External links[edit]