Avner Finberg is an Israeli American composer and violinist. He maintains an active career as both a composer and performer of new music, collaborating primarily with The Ithaca New Music Collective and ensembles and orchestras in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.
His music has been commissioned and performed by new music ensembles around the world including Meitar Ensemble, ensemble mise-en, The Boston New Music Initiative, Ensemble Platypus Wien, The Ithaca New Music Collective, Cisum Percussion, and The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, among others. His music has been described by Steven Stucky as “reined, mature work of impeccable technique, original voice, and considerable ambition”, and hailed as “very funny… hits the spot beautifully” by Carole Di Tosti (at blogcritics.com). His musical inspirations stemmed along his journey from east to west, and his music has roots in Jewish, Middle-Eastern, and Jazz musical genres. His musical activities combine a budding career as a composer of vocal and concert music, and work as a professional violinist and as a music educator.
His awards and accolades include the 2017 Kirkoskammer Chamber Music Competition, Chamber Music Rochester Award, the Bard Prize, and the 2014 Kol Emet Young Composers competition. He represented Israel at the 2013 ISCM New Music Days in Vienna, Austria, and was a finalist at the 2018 Banaue International Music Composition Competition in The Philippines.
Mr. Finberg’s music has been commissioned and performed by Meitar Ensemble, ensemble mise-en, Ensemble Platypus Wien, Cisum Percussion, cellist Kate Dillingham, saxophonist Wonki Lee, the Mannes Orchestra, and Manhattan School of Music Philharmonic, among others. His first opera, A Taste of Damnation (with a libretto by Edward Einhorn), was partially performed at the prestigious Frontiers workshop at Fort Worth Opera, and received a complete performance at Manhattan School of Music in 2015. Currently under development are a new opera, The Exagogue, written in collaboration with librettist Edward Einhorn, and an evening-long song cycle set on texts by Langston Hughes written for bass-baritone Roland Burks.
Born in Tivon, Israel, Mr. Finberg started his musical education at the age of eight when he took his first violin lessons. He started composing in High-School, and studied composition with Menahem Zur and Ari Ben-Shabtai at the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance. He studied composition at Mannes College with Robert Cuckson and at Manhattan School of Music with Susan Botti. He also took lessons with Samuel Adler while at the summer program at the Freie Univestität, Berlin. Other teachers and mentors include Steven Stucky, George Tsontakis, and Martin Bresnik. He earned a DMA in composition from Manhattan School of Music in 2015.
His first opera, A Taste of Damnation (Libretto by Edward Einhorn, based on a short story by Etgar Keret), was first performed as a special student project at Manhattan School of Music on April 2015. Scenes from his opera A Taste of Damnation, written in collaboration with Edward Einhorn, were performed at the 2017 Frontiers Showcase at the Fort Worth Opera Festival. They are currently collaborating on a new opera project, The Exagogé, a cross genre theater and opera piece based on an ancient Egyptian version of the story of the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypy.
In addition to his activities as a composer he is an active professional violinist and a violin teacher. He studied violin with Hagai Shaham and Roi Shiloach at The Jerusalem Academy of Music., earning a master’s degree in violin. He performed as a violinist at The Israel Philharmonic, Tel-Aviv Soloists, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, and the Missouri Symphony. He is the violinist of the Ithaca New Music Collective Ensemble, and is a member of The Binghamton Philharmonic and The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.