CURTIS FINNEY was born and raised in Southampton, New York where he received his early education and his taste for the arts. He received his BS and MS Degrees in Music Education at the State University of New York at Potsdam. He took his postgraduate work at Columbia University in Ethno-musicology: African Music. He did research and field study at the Ecole Normal Superiore in Dakar, Senegal, the Universities of Ife and Ibadan in Nigeria, and the University of Ghana in Legon. He studied Advanced Choral Conducting at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey with Joseph Flummerfelt, and more recently participated in the Conducting Master Classes at the Oregon Bach Festival at the University of Oregon in Eugene with Helmut Rilling, studying and conducting the cantatas of J. S. Bach.
Professor Finney held the post of Minister of Music at University United Methodist Church in Syracuse for 21 years where he produced and conducted more than 60 Liturgical Masterworks services with chorus and orchestra. This period also included a stint as Chorus Master for the Syracuse Opera Company.
Professor Finney has been a full-time musician for over 40 years - principally as a teacher and conductor. He is a clarinetist, and has also been Principal Oboist with the orchestra of the State University College at Geneseo. He took a year's sabbatical leave to study piano with Samuel Dilworth-Leslie at Rutgers University and continues to play the piano.
Professor Finney is a recipient of three New York State regents Grants in the Humanities for Master teachers, and is listed in the 7th Edition of the International Who's Who in Music. He has held memberships in the New York State School of Music Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the American Guild of Organists, and served on the boards of Civic Morning Musicals and the Society for New Music. He is also a member of long standing in the American Choral Directors Association. He is Music Director Emeritus of a group of 24 trombones known as BONES EAST. He was Assistant Professor of Music Education at the Crane School of Music at Potsdam, retiring in the year 2000 as Professor Emeritus. Currently he is a member of the Center for Black Music Research and is engaged in independent research of Blacks in Classical Music and is offering lecture/performances to public and private institutions.
He now maintains his home in Syracuse, New York
A Special Message To High Schools, Universities, Music, Arts and Civic Institutions
Blacks in Classical Music
We are surely at a time in the history of the cultural development of this country when a discussion of the contribution of Blacks to Classical Music ought to be a part of the curricula of music programs and certainly in high schools and teacher training institutions.
This presentation offers a historical perspective of Black singers, players, conductors, composers, musicologists, and administrators. A portion of each presentation is devoted to listening to the music of this group - including audio and video cassettes as well as piano examples.
A reasonable amount of time is included at the end of the session for questions.
Suggestions of sources and materials for educational and curricular use are also available upon request.
For the listening portion of the presentations, a video-player, and audiocassette player and a tuned grand piano are required.
If you would like more details or information regarding how to bring this program to your city, please contact me.
Professor Curtis Finney