One of Ireland’s most successful musicians, Finghin Collins was born in Dublin in 1977 and, following initial lessons with his sister Mary, studied piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John O’Conor and at the Geneva Conservatoire with Dominique Merlet. Winner of the RTÉ Musician of the Future Competition in 1994 and the Classical Category at the National Entertainment Awards in Ireland in 1998, he went on to take first prize at the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland in 1999. Since then he has continued to enjoy a flourishing international career that takes him all over Europe and the United States, as well to the Far East and Australia.
Collins has performed with such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, garnering consistent praise from critics and public alike. Conductors with whom he has collaborated include Frans Brüggen, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Hans Graf, Emmanuel Krivine, Nicholas McGegan, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Tadaaki Otaka, Heinrich Schiff, Vassily Sinaisky, Leonard Slatkin and Gábor Tákacs-Nagy.
Performances across Europe have included such prestigious venues as Symphony Hall Birmingham, Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, The Barbican and Cadogan Hall, London, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (both halls), De Doelen Rotterdam (both halls), Théâtre du Châtelet and Salle Cortot Paris, Salle Molière Lyon, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Auditorio Nacional Madrid, Palao de la Musica Valencia, Gulbenkian Hall Lisbon, Sala Verdi Milan, Teatro Manzoni Bologna, Konzerthaus Berlin, Konzerthaus Vienna, Franz Liszt Academy Budapest, Philharmonic Hall Warsaw and the Auditorium Stravinski Montreux. He has also performed at Carnegie Hall, New York and the Kennedy Center, Washington DC, as well as at both Ravinia and Gilmore Festivals in the USA. Further festival appearances include the Piano Festival at La Roque d’Anthéron (France), Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (Germany), Lockenhaus Festival (Austria), Delft International Chamber Music Festival and Storioni Festival (The Netherlands), Chopin Festival (Poland), Musical Olympus Festival (Russia), Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad (Switzerland), the Wuhan International Piano Festival (China) as well as the Mostly Mozart Festival and Ryedale Festival (UK).
Chamber music plays a significant role in his musical life and he has collaborated with London Winds and the Aviv, Callino, Chilingirian, ConTempo, Cremona, Ebène, Goldner, Navarra, Shanghai, Skampa, St Petersburg, Vanbrugh, Vertavo and Vogler String Quartets. Chamber music partners have include violinists Tasmin Little, Kristóf Bárati and Ilya Gringolts, cellists Han-Na Chang, Marc Coppey, István Várdai, clarinettists Emma Johnson, Michael Collins, Sharon Kam and Romain Guyot, sopranos Ailish Tynan and Lenneke Ruiten, tenor James Gilchrist and baritone Maarten Koningsberger, as well as his sister pianist Dearbhla Collins and many others.
Engagements in 2020 included solo, chamber and concerto performances of Beethoven across Europe to mark the composer’s 250th anniversary, as well as his début with the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, although most of these engagements had to be cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. When online activities resumed in Autumn 2020, Collins performed throughout Ireland, in Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick, Dublin, Drogheda, Belfast, Wexford Festival Opera, Killaloe Music Festival and Cork, as well as play-directing concertos by Haydn and Mozart with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.
Since live concerts recommenced during the summer of 2021, Collins has performed at the Wigmore Hall in London and at other venues in the UK and Switzerland; he was also a member of the jury of the Clara Haskil Competition. In the Autumn of 2021 he performs at Music in Monkstown Festival, Galway International Arts Festival, Music for Galway’s 40th Season Gala Concert, the New Ross Piano Festival and the London Piano Festival before embarking on a 17-concert solo recital tour of Ireland. The 2021/22 season also includes engagements in France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and more.
Over the past two decades Collins has developed a close relationship with Claves Records in Switzerland, recording two double CDs of Schumann’s piano music (which won numerous awards including Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice in 2006), followed by a recording of works for piano and orchestra by Charles V. Stanford with the RTÉ NSO / Kenneth Montgomery (Editor’s Choice, May 2011). In May 2013 RTÉ lyric fm launched his latest recording of four Mozart piano concertos directed from the keyboard with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. A Chopin recital CD was released in 2017, a co-production between RTÉ lyric fm and Claves Records, while in spring 2020 Claves released Collins’ latest release: a recording of the Mozart Piano Quartets with Rosanne Philippens (violin), Máté Szücs (viola) and István Várdai (cello).
Finghin Collins is very active as a programmer, commissioner and concert presenter in Ireland, having been Artistic Director of the New Ross Piano Festival since its inception in 2006, and Artistic Director of Music for Galway since 2013. In 2020 Music for Galway presents the main classical programme as part of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, including the inaugural edition of CELLISSIMO, a new triennial cello festival.
Collins is also co-founder and co-artistic director of the International Master Course at Dublin’s National Concert Hall together with violinist Gwendolyn Masin. In addition, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Dublin International Piano Competition (2006 – 2015), a member of the Board of Directors of the National Concert Hall (2001 – 2006), Musician-in-Residence in South Dublin County Council (2005 – 2008) and Artist-in-Residence in Waterford Institute of Technology (2005 – 2009).
In October 2017, the National University of Ireland conferred on him an honorary Degree of Doctor of Music, in recognition of his outstanding achievements.