“He was both a subtle tonal aesthete and a thundering piano lion, and in between he reigned over the entire range of pianistic expression” Ostsee Zeitung, September 2022
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 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 included violinists Tasmin Little, Kristóf Bárati and Ilya Gringolts, cellists Han-Na Chang, Marc Coppey, István Várdai, Miklós Perényi, clarinettists Emma Johnson, Michael Collins, Sharon Kam and Romain Guyot, sopranos Ailish Tynan and Lenneke Ruiten, tenor James Gilchrist and baritone Jochen Kupfer, as well as his sister pianist Dearbhla Collins and many others.
In July 2022 Collins made his début at the Verbier Festival, replacing András Schiff at short notice. During the 2022/23 season he performs at the Piano aux Jacobins Festival in Toulouse, the Festival de Zermatt, the Piano Biennale in the Netherlands, the National Concert Hall in Dublin with the Quatuor Ebène and at the Seoul Arts Center in Korea with cellist Mikós Perényi. He also performs concertos with the National Symphony Orchestra in Galway and Dublin, with the Nexus Orchestra in Lausanne, Switzerland and with the Philharmonisches Orchester Vorpommern in Germany. In November 2022 he undertook a ten-concert tour of Ireland with Sharon Carty (mezzo-soprano) and John Finucane (clarinet).
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). In Autumn 2022 a new solo CD “The Bright Day is Done” was released, featuring a variety of works inspired by different times of the day.
Finghin Collins makes a significant contribution to the musical landscape of his native Ireland, where he resides. Since 2013, he has been Artistic Director of Music for Galway, while he is also the founding Artistic Director, since 2006, of the New Ross Piano Festival in Wexford. In March 2023 was appointed Artistic Director of the Dublin International Piano Competition.
Collins was a member of the jury of the Clara Haskil Competition in Switzerland in 2021. He will chair the jury of the Clara Haskil Competition in 2023 and 2025.
In 2017, the National University of Ireland conferred on him an honorary Degree of Doctor of Music.