Douglas Finch established an impressive career as a concert pianist after winning several national competitions in Canada, Third Prize in the Washington J.S. Bach International Competition and silver medal at the Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition in Brussels. Besides appearing as soloist with conductors including Charles Dutoit, John Avison, Georges Octors, Boris Brott and Uri Mayer, he has performed many recitals internationally with a large 'established' repertoire ranging from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier to Ives’ Concord Sonata, as well as many pieces by living composers. His acclaimed work with The Continuum Ensemble since 1994 (of which he is co-artistic director) has been heard at the Southbank Centre, in festivals including Spitalfields, and on a number of programmes on BBC Radio, championing music by Xenakis, Aperghis, Smalley, Wallen, Dutilleux, Vivier, Bashaw, Carter, Sessions, Ustwolskaya, Rzewski, Rochberg, Ran, Gonneville, Scelsi, Anderson, Cardew, Ligeti and many others.
Find out more about Douglas from his Interview with the Cross-Eyed Pianist (2013).
Recital programmes often feature his own compositions and his unique improvisations based on themes given to him by the audience, as well as an excitingly diverse range of repertoire.
President’s Concert, Virtuosi Concerts, Winnipeg
- J.S. Bach/Ronald Stevenson: Komm, süsser Tod
- J.S. Bach: Preludes and Fugues in G Major and G Minor, WTC Book II
- Beethoven: Bagatelle op. 33 no. 7 in A flat Major
- Variations on "God save the king", transcribed and improvised by D. Finch
- Albeniz: Evocation (from Iberia)
- Liszt: Spanish Rhapsody
- Finch: Preludes and Afterthoughts – Fantasy-transcriptions on Chopin’s Preludes op. 28
- Chopin: Sonata no. 2 in B flat minor op. 35
- Finch: Improvisations on themes from the audience
St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, Lunchtime Concert, broadcast on BBC Radio 3
- Roger Smalley: Chopin Variations
- Stefan Wolpe: Blues and Tango
- Scriabin: Two Pieces op. 57
- Busoni: From Elegies – no. 4 Turandots Frauengemach, no. 6 Berceuse
- Shostakovich: Sonata no. 1
Beethoven: Sonata op 106, 1st movement (live performance at the Reform Club, London)
Scriabin: Sonata no 5 (live performance at final round of the Queen Elisabeth International Piano Competition, Brussels, 1978, recorded by DGG, limited edition)
Shostakovich: First Sonata (live BBC 3 recording, St. David’s Hall, Cardiff)
"Finch demonstrated a total command of tone and a real sensitivity for the room. If I had to pick one feature of his piano playing for praise it would be his ability to build musical structure from tone alone. Not many pianists I’ve seen live can do that without resorting to cliché. Finch’s playing was far from clichéd; it was intelligently considered without losing its emotional impact, well-wrought without losing its spontaneity. And he avoided unnecessary visual spectacle – showboating that would have been out-of-place here. Finch’s playing is a real joy to hear. "
- Adam Fergler Blog, 25 June 2015.
"[Toch] was the focus of the weekend, and his music showed a fascinating blend of angular abstraction, tenderness touched with sarcasm, and uproarious energy. The Three Burlesques for solo piano, brilliantly played by Douglas Finch, were one highlight."
- Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 5-star review, 21 June 2015.
"I sat tightly gripped; you might almost say swept away". [Ernst Toch's Cello Sonata was] "...skilfully navigated by Joseph Spooner and the pianist Douglas Finch."
- Geoff Brown, The Times, 4-star review, 21 June 2015.
"[Toch's] Cello Sonata, op 50, while revisiting the baroque manner's polyphony and relentless textural continuity, distinctly intimated the systems music of a future year. It was grippingly expounded by Joseph Spooner and [...] Douglas Finch, who went on to unveil Toch's solo Capricetti, op 36, and three vigorous Burlesken, op 31."
- Paul Driver in The Sunday Times, 28 June 2015.
From reviews of the 'Swept Away Festival' at King's Place, London, performed by The Continuum Ensemble directed by Philip Headlam, 19-21 June 2015.
"Douglas Finch gave a tremendous performance. His acute sense of the resonance that forms such an important aspect of this work filled the hall. Finch’s amazing virtuosity lifted the music from the page as the various contrasting elements of the piece came to life. It was a compelling performance that respected the essence of the music."
- Janet Notenoquah, The Classical Source.com, review for 'A Celebration of Henri Dutilleux', a concert given in the presence of the composer, by The Continuum Ensemble at the Purcell Room, London, Friday 29 April 2005.
"Douglas Finch confirmed his enormous intelligence and musicality in the monument which is Op. 111 [Beethoven]. His grand conception bordered on the metaphysical. ... He seemed inhabited by the urgency of what he had to transmit to us... a very rare musician."
- Jaques Mairel, review in Le Soir, 1978.