Exclusive: Lynn Harrell steps in as principal cellist

Further to our report about Alban Gerhardt joining the back desk of cellos in New Orleans, the conductor Nir Kabaretti tells us of a distinct upgrade in Taiwan.

Nir writes:

Yesterday I had a concert in the beautiful National Concert Hall in Taipei.

Lynn Harrell, who played Saint Saens#1 and Dvorak’s Rondo as soloist, joined the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra after the intermission to play Dvorak 8th Symphony, in the principal cello chair.

The evidence:

lynn harrell principal cello

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  • Mr Harrell probably knows a bit about the piece having played and recorded it when he played in The Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell……

  • A number of years ago, Yo-Yo Ma did the same thing in Philadelphia, returning on the second half to sit in on a Brahms symphony. It was reported on this blog in May that Ma did much the same thing in Vancouver, sitting in with the orchestra for Dvorak’s 8th.

  • Happened on several occasions in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre. Friends of Zukerman would join the tutti from time to time — including, I believe once, Lynn Harell.

  • If these cellists actually sat through the rehearsals as well, and thus knew what they were doing, I might be more impressed with these I’m-just-one-of-the-guys stunts of fake modesty and music-loving.

    • Mr. Osborne, Lynn Harrell began his career as an orchestral cellist at age 18 in the Cleveland Orchestra and served as its principal cellist from 1964 to 1971. The Cleveland Orchestra cello section remains strong in part because of his influence in its formative years. He, for one, knows what he’s doing.

      Having seen Yo-Yo Ma play in the Cleveland Orchestra cello section in a performance of Dvorak 6 several summers ago (in the last chair), I can attest to his humility-his body language was identical to that of the members of the section. Visually and aurally, he didn’t stick out at all.

      • Playing in Cleveland 44 years ago doesn’t help one know a conductors wishes or an orchestras’s style in New Orleans 44 years later.

        • How do we know Harrell or Ma didn’t participate in the rehearsals? They were obviously there for the rehearsals of the concertos they were playing. Anyone have a definitive answer to that?

  • I studied with LH at the Cincinnati Conservatory, when he did a two year stint along with James Levine in the 1970’s.
    LH’s command of the orchestral repertoire comes from being on the job in Cleveland. From personal experience, I attest that LH “knows what he’s doing”!

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