The Martha and Peyton Woodson Chair

Double bassist Leonid Finkelshteyn enjoys an active career as a performer and teacher. Currently Principal Double Bass of the North Carolina Symphony, which he joined in 1996, and the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in North Carolina, since 1999, Finkelshteyn also serves on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and the Eastern Music Festival, in addition to maintaining a large private studio.

As a soloist, Finkelshteyn has made numerous concerto appearances with the North Carolina Symphony, Young Artists Orchestra at the Eastern Music Festival, ECU Symphony Orchestra, and the Peninsula Music Festival orchestra in Wisconsin, including works by Bottesini, Bruch, Koussevitsky, and Tubin. He has also performed the North American premiere of Gareth Glyn’s Microncerto and the world premiere of J.Mark Scearce’s Antaeus, a concerto for double bass and orchestra, which the North Carolina Symphony commissioned for him. In 2018, he performed a premiere of the Double Bass Concerto by Terry Mizesko, dedicated specifically for him. Other artistic pursuits have included tours with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Philharmonia Hungarica. In addition, he has appeared with the symphony orchestras of St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Dallas, and with the Mostly Music festival as guest principal bassist. He has also performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and The Cleveland Orchestra, and has appeared with the All-Star Orchestra, under the direction of Gerard Schwarz, as part of an award-winning series of programs for PBS. He has performed with a number of conductors throughout his career, namely, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Alan Gilbert, Mariss Jansons, Neeme and Paavo Järvi, Louis Langrée, Lorin Maazel, Andrew Manze, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Gerard Schwarz, Yuri Temirkanov, and Osmo Vänskä.

An avid chamber musician, Finkelshteyn has participated in the Southampton Arts Festival in New York, the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival at East Carolina University, the Eastern Music Festival Chamber Music Series, and the North Carolina Symphony Chamber Music series. He has collaborated with his brother, cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn, Julia Fischer, Mark Kosover, Adam Neiman, Awadagin Pratt, Julian Schwarz, and Elina Vähälä, among others.

A committed teacher, Finkelshteyn was invited to give master classes at Yale University, in New York City for students from Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes School of Music, and at Penn State and UNC School of the Arts, among others. He makes a point of being involved in his community as well, leading sectionals for local youth philharmonic orchestras and the North Carolina All-State Orchestra. In addition, he works with local music teachers with their double bass students, offering master classes and sectionals.

A native of Leningrad in the former Soviet Union, Finkelshteyn joined the Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad Philharmonic at only 19 years of age—while still a student at the Leningrad Conservatory, from which he earned a Master’s degree, graduating with honors. His primary teachers were Peter Weinblatt and Sergei Akopov. Eventually, he became principal bassist of the Symphony Orchestra and was a prize winner of the Soviet Union Bass Competition before emigrating to the U.S. in 1990. Upon arriving in the U.S., he attended the Aspen Music Festival where he won the E. Nakamichi Double Bass Competition, performing the Koussevitsky Concerto with the festival orchestra.

Finkelshteyn performs on an Italian double bass made in the Mantua region around 1770 and a French double bass made by Charles Jacquot in 1860 in Paris. His bows of choice are by H.R. Pfretzchner, made in Markneukirchen, Germany, as well as a bow made especially for him in 2003 by bow-maker Susan Lipkins in Woodstock, New York.