CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 19, 1999
(NOTE TO EDITORS: You can contact David Finckel and Wu Han
by e-mail at
'We could make beautiful music together:' Cellist Finckel
and pianist Wu Han will, at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The spousal duo of cellist David Finckel
and pianist Wu Han will perform works by Beethoven, Alfred Schnittke
and Cesar Franck at 8 p.m. Monday, April 5 in Clapp Recital Hall
on the University of Iowa campus.
The concert, presented by Hancher Auditorium, will feature Beethoven's
Sonata for Piano and Cello in F Major, Schnittke's 1978 Sonata
for Cello and Piano, and Franck's Sonata in A Major.
Finckel and Wu Han, who have formed their own recording label
and marketed over the internet to maintain artistic control,
will discuss how musicians can have greater control over their
careers at 1:30 p.m. April 5 in Clapp Recital Hall. The discussion,
aimed particularly at students in the UI School of Music, will
be open to the public free of charge.
Finckel and Wu Han are partners in every respect -- as a married
couple with a child, as business colleagues and as musicians.
"What's really fortunate in our relationship is that we
have such a good musical partnership," Finckel observes.
"No matter how rough going the business is, we rarely have
any major disagreements musically." The first time they
played together, they agree, they knew they were meant for each
But Wu Han points out that they have differences that become
practical strengths. "I'm the adventurous one," she
asserts. "If I see a pool, I jump right in. David has to
research all the water temperatures first. I don't have his organizational
skills, but I'm the one who's always pushing him. And he has
pushed me to be more thoughtful."
Their differences of personality and unanimity of musical intent
converged when, in collaboration with a friend who is an ace
recording engineer, Finckel and Wu Han founded the ArtistLed
ArtistLed operates with complete independence from the mainstream
recording industry. As the audiophile "indie" rebels
of classical recording, Finckel and Wu Han also managed to end-run
the traditional corporate distribution system, marketing their
CDs not in stores but through a site on the World Wide Web --
-- and through a toll-free phone number -- 1-888-ArtLedCD.
Finckel's sensitivity to sound reproduction was on display last
fall when he and his colleagues in the Grammy-winning Emerson
String Quartet visited the UI for two Hancher-sponsored concerts.
That visit included an educational event broadcast live on the
Iowa City Public Library's cable channel, and Finckel fiddled
with the microphone placement until he was satisfied that the
sound would be as clear and clean and possible -- with stunning
Finckel says that the "mom and pop" recording enterprise
he and Wu Han have established has an affinity to rock's garage
bands: "We have a similarity to pop musicians who have always
been more guerrilla style. We're not depending on the establishment
to make us a career.
"We're in the frame of mind that technology is going to
help save the arts. To a great extent, because the arts have
gotten very expensive to produce, they have gotten very commercial.
And whenever anything gets commercial, people tend to get distracted
from the quality of the work. I guess that's understandable,
but we're very optimistic that people will always return to quality.
And so far, the people haven't left us -- they've followed us.
"It's a matter of trust. When somebody buys one of our records,
they know we've made it for no other reason than to make a great
Response to the Finckel/Wu Han CDs has been so positive, in fact,
that they have been required to replenish their stocks to meet
the demand. Included in their discography are the Beethoven and
Franck compositions they will perform on April 5.
Newday critic Justin Davidson summarized their recordings: "Technique
and technology are equally transparent on these recordings, and
though they are the product of endless tinkering and elaborate
editing, the performances come off as natural, seamless and pure.
The playing is thrillingly bright and brilliant when it needs
to be, but there is magic, too."
Charles Michener of the BBC Music Magazine concluded, "these
discs are reproductions of astonishing clarity, intimacy and,
above all, honesty.. They provide the rare feeling that you are
actually hearing the music as it is being made." And Terry
Teachout proclaimed, "The results, not to put too fine a
point on it, are extraordinary. Not only can you smell the spontaneity,
but you can also feel the integrity -- and the hard work that
backs it up."
The 300,000-circulation BBC Music Magazine gave the duo's enterprise
a substantial boost when it included one of their CDs with a
1997 issue, and invited the readers' responses. The readers were
almost uniformly awestruck: "It enthused me from start to
finish," "If all music was recorded with such enthusiasm
I could become a chamber music addict," "To me it is
tremendously involving, about as near as most of us will every
get to being part of a performance," "What we hear
with real clarity is the explosive intimacy of art."
The Holiday Inn -- Iowa City is the corporate sponsor of the
David Finckel and Wu Han concert through the University of Iowa
Tickets for the April 5 concert are $20 ($16 for UI students
and senior citizens, and $10 for audience members 17 and younger).
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3
p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area
or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa
and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319)
353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American
Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university
bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box
office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped
parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation
and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people
with hearing impairment who use that technology.