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David Finlayson


The Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Chair


David Finlayson, The Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Chair, joined the New York Philharmonic’s trombone section in December 1985, during Zubin Mehta’s tenure as Music Director.

Born in Washington, D.C., into a military family, Finlayson spent his early years in the United States and Europe. His music studies began on the piano when he was six, while his family was living in Heidelberg, Germany; the trombone did not take center stage in his life until he was 13 years old.

In 1972 David Finlayson entered the University of Michigan School of Music for his undergraduate studies. His symphonic career began while he was a student in Michigan, with the Flint and Toledo symphony orchestras. In 1980 he was appointed assistant principal trombonist with the National Symphony Orchestra under music director Mstislav Rostropovich and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for six seasons before joining the New York Philharmonic.

As a guest artist and clinician, Finlayson represents Yamaha and has conducted master classes in universities and conservatories in Spain, Brazil, South Korea, Finland, Chile, and Puerto Rico. In the United States his appearances have included the New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes School of Music at The New School, DePaul University, University of Hawaii, the Curtis Institute of Music, and University of Michigan.

Finlayson is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. He has also been on the faculties of the Mannes School of Music at The New School, Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music, and the Music Academy of the West, in Santa Barbara, California (now a partner in the New York Philharmonic Global Academy).

His teachers included Glen P. Smith, Frank Crisafulli, John Marcellus, and Abe Torchinsky.

Upcoming 2023-2024 Performances

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