Lynn Harrell was an American classical cellist. He was known for the “penetrating riches” of his sound and he performed internationally as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with major orchestras over a career spanning nearly six decades. He was the winner of the inaugural Avery Fisher Prize and two Grammy Awards among other accolades. Lynn Harrell died on Monday, April 27 at the age of 76 years.
Lynn Harrell Biography
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The story goes that Jascha Heifetz said to Rachmaninov, "Why don't you write for violin? Why you write only for cello?" And, according to Gregor Piatigorsky, Rachmaninov said, "Why should I write for violin, when I have the cello?" 😂 Full video on Youtube. . . . . #lynnharrell #jaschaheifetz #rachmaninov #gregorpiatigorsky #piatigorsky #cello #musicforcello #cellosonanta #gminor #cellomusic #celloplayers #cellistsofinstagram #maestro #stringinstruments #cellosolo #classicalmusic
Lynn Harrell was born to musician parents in Manhattan, New York City. His father was the baritone Mack Harrell and his mother, Marjorie McAlister Fulton a violinist.
Lynn Harrell Age
Lynn Harrell was born on January 30, 1944, and at the time of his death, he was 76 years old.
Lynn Harrell Education
At the age of nine, Harrell began his cello studies. When he was 12, his family moved to Dalla, Texas, where he studied with Lev Aronson while his father taught at Southern Methodist University. Summers were often spent in Colorado, where his father was one of the founders and then the second director of the Aspen Music Festival and School.
After attending Denton High School, Harrell studied at the Juilliard School in New York with Leonard Rose and then at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Orlando Cole.
Lynn Harrell Career
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Recently, I performed at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the inter-Korean summit in the border truce village of Panmunjom. Co-hosted by the Unification Ministry, Seoul Metropolitan Government and Gyeonggi Province, my performance was one of six other musical performances on the southern side of the demilitarized zone in Korea. Photo: Digital Chosun Inc.
Lynn Harrell began his junior career in 1961 when he was 17 years old when he made his debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as part of a Young People’s Concert. The previous year Harrell had lost his father of cancer and the following year 1962 when he was 18 years old his mother died from injuries sustained from a two-vehicle crash while traveling from Denton to Fort Worth. Just before his mother’s death in April 1962, Harrell had withdrawn from Denton High School in his junior year to advance to the semifinals of the Second International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Harrell’s professional career debuted in New York in 1971 and a year later he played at a Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center concert. In 1971 he also began his teaching career at the University of Cincinnati-College- Conservatory of Music. He went on to teach at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Aspen Music Festival, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and The Juilliard School. He also served as the Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute from 1988 to 1992. He also taught at USC Thornton School of Music, and the Shepherd School of Music.
Lynn Harrell Wife
Lynn married his wife violinist and former student Helen Nightengale in 2002. The couple had two children, Hanna and Noah. The couple also founded HEARTbeats which “strives to help children in need harness the power of music to cope with, and recover from, the extreme challenges of poverty and conflict.” He had twin children from his first marriage to the journalist and writer Linda Blandford- Kate, an actress, and yoga teacher, and Eben a journalist both of whom live and work in London.
Lynn Harrell Death
Lynn Harrell died on Monday, April 27 at the age of 76. Harrell’s wife Helen Nightengale posted the news about his death on Facebook, saying, “We have lost a wonderful father, husband, mensch. All four of Lynn’s children, his sister, friends, and I mourn him along with those who were lucky enough to know his music, his wit, and his humanity. You were an end of an era, Dear Lynn, and will be missed more than you will ever know. We love you to the moon and back. Rest in Peace, dear one, you have earned it.”
We have lost a wonderful father, husband , mensch. All four of Lynn’s children, his sister, friends and I mourn him…
Lynn Harrell Tributes
Once the death of Harrell’s broke, tributes started pouring in from other musicians and supporters. Gautier Capucon, a classical musician and cellist, posted on twitter;
Good bye Lynn Harrell
my dearest friend and collegue,
your gorgeous and unique way of making your cello sing like a human voice and your immense generosity,
We will all miss you dearly,
Rest In Peace
— Gautier CAPUÇON (@GautierCapucon) April 28, 2020
The post read; “Goodbye Lynn Harrell my dearest friend and collegue, your gorgeous and unique way of making your cello sing like a human voice and your immense generosity, We will all miss you dearly, Rest In Peace”
The New York Philharmonic posted photos of Harrell performing with them, both as a soloist and in concert;
We mourn the passing of cellist Lynn Harrell.
Left: from the last time he performed in one of our concerts, in 2010 (https://t.co/FkgfcHvzZi)
Right: from Sep 28, 2006, his last solo performance with us
(Photos: Chris Lee) pic.twitter.com/4SuzFtJhss
— New York Philharmonic (@nyphil) April 28, 2020
The post read in part, “We mourn the passing of cellist Lynn Harrell.”
Harrell will be remembered because he seldom trusted his instruments to airline baggage handlers. In 2012 he achieved notoriety when Delta Air Lines kicked him out of its frequent-flier program for registering and traveling with his cello, which had been enrolled as “Mr. Cello Harrell.” Among the instruments, he played in his career was 1720 Montagnana and a 1673 Antonio Stradivarius cello that had belonged to Jacquiline de Pre.