Avner Finberg is an Israeli American composer and violinist. His musical creations are informed by cutting edge contemporary music techniques, and derive inspiration from wide-ranging sources such as traditional Arab Music, traditional Jewish prayer, fragments of ancient Byzantine and Greek music, Jazz, and baroque idioms. His debut album, The Four Seasons of Isolation, was hailed as “intriguing, entertaining and thought-provoking” by Gramophone Magazine, and his music has been described by composer Steven Stucky as “reined, mature work of impeccable technique, original voice, and considerable ambition”.
Avner’s compositions have been performed by Meitar Ensemble, ensemble mise-en, The Boston New Music Initiative, Ensemble Platypus Wien, The Ithaca New Music Collective, and Cisum Percussion, among others. Avner’s works for orchestra were performed with The Mannes Orchestra, The Manhattan School of Music Philharmonic and The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. 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 was a composition fellow at American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice workshop in 2013-14, where he started collaborating with librettist Edward Einhorn; their first opera, A Taste of Damnation (based on a short story by Etgar Keret), was partially performed at the prestigious Frontiers workshop at Fort Worth Opera, and received a complete performance at Manhattan School of Music in 2015. Their second opera, The Exagoge, was written, workshopped, and currently slated for performance with Untitled Theater Company #61 in 2024.
As a violinist he specializes in new music and has premiered new chamber music works at ORF Radio Tirol in Austria, Cornell University, Spectrum NYC, and Manhattan School of Music. He began composing and performing his original music for violin and electronics at performances of The Ithaca New Music Collective. His ongoing interest in combining live electronics with solo violin resulted with his first original solo album, The Four Seasons of Isolation (2022), a musical essay reflecting on his year in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, he performed as an orchestral violinist with The Israel Philharmonic, The Tel-Aviv Soloists Ensemble, The Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, The Ithaca New Music Collective Ensemble, and The Binghamton Philharmonic.
As a child, he studied violin with Robert Canetti in Haifa and received masterclasses with some of Israel’s most acclaimed violinists of the time, such as Ivri Gitlis and Miriam Fried. He took his first lessons in harmony and composition at the Wizo High-School for the arts in Haifa, and later studied composition and violin at the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance, Israel’s top musical institute. His composition teachers were Menahem Zur and Ari Ben-Shabtai, and he studied violin with Hagai Shaham and Roi Shiloach. He then fully immersed himself in the study of composition, moving to New York City to study with Robert Cuckson at The Mannes College and Susan Botti at Manhattan School of Music. Other teachers and mentors include Samuel Adler, Steven Stucky and Martin Bresnik. He earned his Doctor of Music degree in composition from Manhattan School of Music in 2015, and currently lives in Washington, DC, where he teaches violin and composition at The Levine School of Music.