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Lynn Harrell

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Lynn Harrell (born 1944) is an American classical cellist.

Harrell was born in New York of musician parents; his father was the distinguished baritone Mack Harrell and his mother, Marjorie Fulton, was a violinist. At the age of eight he decided to learn to play the cello. When Lynn was 12, his family moved to Dallas, Texas, where Lynn studied with Lev Aronson. After high school, he studied at the Juilliard School in New York and then at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. His influential cello teachers included Leonard Rose and Orlando Cole. He made his debut in 1961 playing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

While still a teenager, Harrell was orphaned. His father died first of cancer in 1960 and then, two years later, his mother died in a car accident when Lynn Harrell was 17. “After that,” as he has said, “I moved around to different family friends’ houses with my one suitcase and cello until I was 18, when I joined the Cleveland Orchestra. In part, I got that job because George Szell knew my father through their collaboration at the Metropolitan Opera.” Harrell was thereafter a cellist with the Cleveland Orchestra and its principal cellist from 1964 to 1971.

Harrell made his recital debut in New York in 1971 and since then has performed internationally as a recitalist, chamber music player, and soloist with orchestras. He is a renowned teacher who has taught at prestigious music schools and conservatories, including the Royal Academy London, the Aspen Music Festival, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Juilliard School.

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