CMS Extends Contract of Current Artistic Directors

CMS Extends Contract of Current Artistic Directors

CMS Board Chairman James P. O’Shaughnessy commented:

David and Wu Han’s tenure at CMS has been exemplary. What they have achieved, and continue to achieve, has brought the organization to worldwide acclaim from both audiences and critics, and fueled a growing enthusiasm for the art form. With their inexhaustible energy, discerning judgment, and artistic leadership, they have truly brought this esteemed organization to unimaginable heights.

David Finckel and Wu Han released a joint statement:

We could not be more honored to receive the opportunity to lead this extraordinary organization for additional seasons. New doors are constantly opening for chamber music worldwide, and CMS is expected to be there for the art form, exerting leadership, inspiring and guiding the evolution of the genre. With our incredible international roster of musicians, CMS is capable of consistently delivering programming and performances that set the standard for the chamber music industry. We are therefore emboldened to lead the organization towards ever higher achievements on behalf of the art form we love and respect so much.

CMS Executive Director Suzanne Davidson remarked:

As CMS heads towards its 50th Anniversary and beyond, I’m delighted that we have secured continuity of David and Wu Han’s inspired and dedicated artistic leadership. During their tenure, CMS has enjoyed a growing subscription base and expanding audiences in New York, added a sold-out Lincoln Center summer series, grown national and international touring so that CMS performs even more concerts on tour than in New York, and developed the largest online and radio presence in chamber music. Our education program has grown to twelve different initiatives, serving all ages, beginning at age 5, and includes the prestigious CMS Two program for extraordinary young musicians which is nurturing and launching the major chamber music careers of the future. With the benefit of this tremendous momentum, we all look forward to achieving new heights artistically, bringing the joy and inspiration of chamber music to an ever-widening community around the world.


Since succeeding previous Artistic Directors Charles Wadsworth (1969-1989), Fred Sherry (1989-1993), and David Shifrin (1993-2004), Finckel and Wu Han have dramatically altered the profile of CMS. Through their passion and dedication, their innovations and new initiatives include:

  • The establishment of a rotating, multi-generational international musician roster, with annual participation numbering more than 100 artists, ensuring natural artistic evolution in the future.
  • The vastly increased involvement and stature of young artists of the CMS Two program, to the point where they now appear in New York and on tour internationally as equal peers with performers of all generations.
  • The launch of “Summer Evenings” the first annual CMS summer season at Alice Tully Hall, inaugurated in 2015 and greeted by sold out houses and enthusiastic press.
  • Launching in June 2016, Chamber Music Encounters. A new educational initiative for highly-gifted young artists inspired by Isaac Stern’s legendary chamber music workshops.
  • The establishment of a national network of “satellite” CMS concert series at the Harris Theater in Chicago, Illinois; the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, SUNY, in Purchase, New York; the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia; Drew University in Madison, New Jersey; Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky; the St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts; and at the University of North Carolina as a partner of the recently-founded Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute. In addition, CMS will continue with annual residencies at London’s Wigmore Hall, and the LG Chamber Music School in Seoul, Korea.
  • Annual summer festival residency. In 2014, CMS became the resident chamber music constituent of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (alongside the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York City Ballet), performing six programs in the park’s Spa Little Theater every August.
  • With four varying touring ensembles crisscrossing the United States annually, the Society is also expanding its presence in Europe and Asia, through partnerships with festivals, and presenters such as London’s Wigmore Hall. Touring accounts for more than 60 concerts outside of New York City.
  • CMS’s global brand presence has also been augmented by its increase to fifty-two weekly radio concert broadcasts in the U.S., with newly-formed broadcast partnerships allowing CMS to be heard on the airwaves for the first time in China and Taiwan. Radio presence also includes weekly broadcasts on SiriusXM.
  • In addition to its popular series in the acoustically superior Alice Tully Hall (renovated during Finckel and Wu Han’s watch in 2008-2009), the Society’s auxiliary series of Rose Studio Concerts, New Music Concerts and Art of the Recital series enjoy loyal audiences, critical acclaim, and the benefit of worldwide reach through CMS’s in-house live-streaming capability. Long a prominent leader in classical music media and digital communication, CMS live-streams dozens of concert and educational events every season, and maintains a robust, accessible and widely viewed digital archive on its web site.