Jon Finson grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and attended New Trier High School. He received a baccalaureate degree (with honors) from the University of Colorado, Boulder, an M.A from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. After a year abroad in Vienna and Berlin supported by The Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation, he accepted a position at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he taught the history of music and American Studies for 35 years.
Finson has authored nine books, most recently In Death’s Shade, Mortality Watch, and Death on the Drive (all in the Frank Salino Series, Kindle Publishing). Other novels include A Chosen Landscape: Adventures in the Gay Academy (Kindle Publishing, 2016) and A Time of Confidences: Novel of Summer (Kindle Publishing, 2014, rev. 2021). Among nonfiction books are Nineteenth-Century Music: The Western Classical Tradition, 2nd ed. (Kindle Publishing, 2021), Robert Schumann: The Book of Songs (Harvard University Press, 2007), and The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in 19th-Century American Popular Song (Oxford University Press, 1994).
Finson holds the 2013 Robert Schumann Prize for outstanding scholarship and editorial work in the promotion of the composer’s symphonies and songs. Performances of Finson’s award-winning edition of Schumann’s D-minor Symphony (first version; Breitkopf & Härtel, 2003) are available online in the Digital Concert Hall of the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle, and streaming by the North German Radio Orchestra (Hamburg; Sony) conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock and by the West German Radio Orchestra (Düsseldorf) conducted by Heinz Holliger.