In the early 1950s, the Soviet Union started active preparations for WWIII against the USA and NATO, and young talented men were pressed into service in the national army and navy. David Finko—the only son of a naval architect and the Theory of Elasticity professor—was selected to become a submarine designing engineer. He graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Naval Architecture (Diploma in Submarine Design, 1959 and the rank of lieutenant), made two arctic patrols as a crew member, and was trained at several ship yards and at the Submarine Design Bureau in Leningrad, where he was appointed as a submarine designing engineer in 1960.
But David Finko also studied piano, violin, and music theory since childhood. He graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov School of the Performing Arts (Diploma in Piano Performance, 1958) and from the Leningrad Conservatory (Diploma in Music Composition, 1965). He abandoned his engineering career to become a full-time composer in 1966. As a member of the Union of Soviet Composers, he wrote many works on commissions from the Soviet Ministry of Culture and noted performers, and served as an editor of the state music publishing house “Soviet Composer.”
Since his emigration to the U.S.A. in 1979, David Finko has taught music at seven U.S. universities including Yale University and the Universities of Pennsylvania and Texas. He has been a U.S. citizen since 1986. David Finko has written six operas, nine concerti, three tone poems, two symphonies, and a number of chamber compositions. His music has been performed and recorded in many countries and received many awards. David has been associated with the SSO since the 1980s. “The SSO has performed many works of mine. I can drive to Bel Air with closed eyes in the middle of the night.”