Finko, David, Russian-born American composer and teacher; b. Leningrad, May 15, 1936. He received training in piano and violin at the Rimsky-Korsakov School of Performing Arts in Leningrad (1950–55; 1956–58). After graduating from the Leningrad Inst. of Naval Architecture (1959), he studied composition and theory (1960–65) and conducting (with Musin, 1970–79) at the Leningrad Cons. He then emigrated to the U.S.
and became a naturalized American citizen in 1986. After lecturing at the Univ. of Pa. in Philadelphia (1980–84), he was an adjunct prof, of music there (1986–92). He also was composer-in-residence at the Univ. of Tex. in El Paso (1981–84) and a faculty member of the Combs Coll. of Music in Philadelphia (1984–90), Swarthmore Coll. (1987), Gratz Coll. (1990–91), and Yale Univ. (1991–92). In 1981 he founded Dako Publishers in Philadelphia. He frequently appeared as a pianist, violinist, and conductor of his own works. His music reflects his Jewish heritage and is set in a modern style but not without melodic overtones.
DRAMATIC Opera : Polinka (1965); That Song (1970; rev. 1991); The Enchanted Tailor (1983–93); The Klezmers (1989); The Kabbalists (1990); Abraham and Hanna (1993); The Woman is a Devil (1993; Philadelphia, July 15, 1995); At the Ocean Bottom (1999). ORCH.: The Holocaust, tone poem (1965; rev. 1985); 2 syms. (1969, 1972); Piano Concerto (1971); Viola Concerto (1971); Concerto for Violin, Viola, and Orch. (1973); Russia, tone poem (1974; rev. 1990); Concerto for Viola, Double Bass, and Orch. (1975); Harp Concerto (1976); Concerto for Viola d’Amore, Guitar, and Orch. (1977); The Wailing Wall, tone poem (1983); Concerto for 3 Violins and Orch. (1984); Violin Concerto (1988); Concerto Grosso for Flute, Oboe, Bassoon, Percussion, and Strings (1994). CHAMBER: Mourning Music for Violin, Viola, and Cello (1968); Lamentations of Jeremiah for Violin (1969); Dithyramb for Viola and Organ (1974); Fromm Septet for Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Double Bass, and Percussion (1981); Triptych for Three for Violin, Marimba, and Piano (1999). KEYBOARD: Piano : Fantasia on a Medieval Russian Theme (1961); 2 sonatas (1964, 1998); B-88 (1973). VOCAL: Hear, O Israel, Sabbath Eve service for 2 Singers, Chorus, and Orch. (1986); A Symphony of Celebration for Mixed, Children’s, and Community Choruses and Orch. (1997).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire