Lynn Harrell, a talented and prominent American cellist, 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.” A cause of death has not yet been released. Nightengale’s full tribute post to her late husband is below:
The full post reads: “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. Lynn Harrell January 30,1944 – April 27,2020.”
Harrell Began Performing at a Young Age & His Career Soon Took Off
Harrell was born in 1944 in New York City. According to Slipped Disc’s tribute to Harrell, the cellist made his debut at 17 years old with the New York Philharmonic. His father, baritone Mack Harrell, had died two years prior from cancer, and his mother died in a car accident soon after he made his debut. He then joined the Cleveland Orchestra, and his soloist career took off in the 1970s.
Harrell was one of the most well-respected and prominent cellists of the 20th century and performed with many of the top orchestras and conductors, according to The Violin Channel. The outlet also indicated that he was a student of top cellists Leonard Rose and Orlando Cole.
Harrell also taught music at different institutions, namely the Royal Academy of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music and The Juilliard School. Slipped Disc stated that at one stage of Harrell’s career, he was the first call worldwide for Dvorak and Schumann concertos.
Harrell first married Linda Blandford, a British journalist, and they had twins together. He also had a son and a daughter with his second wife, violinist Nightengale.
Tributes Have Poured in Following Nightengale’s Statement About Harrell’s Death
Once the news of Harrell’s death broke, tributes poured in from other musicians and supporters. Gautier Capuçon, a classical musician and cellist, posted:
He wrote: “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.”
Conductor Alan Gilbert posted:
He wrote: “So sad to have just heard of Lynn Harrell’s passing. We had such fun together on stage, on the golf course, in life. He was an amazing musician and human being. RIP -AG.”
The New York Philharmonic posted photos of Harrell performing with them, both as a soloist and in concert:
They wrote: “We mourn the passing of cellist Lynn Harrell.”
Another cellist, Arlen Hlusko, posted on Twitter:
She wrote: “Absolutely devastated to learn of Lynn Harrell’s passing. I am so grateful for his musicianship and humanity throughout his life and career. The cello world would be a significantly different place without him, and we will miss him dearly.” She also linked to an Instagram tribute post.