A tribute to Lynn Harrell:
The big bear of the cello is gone. Was there ever a more congenial musician? It was never work with Lynn, that smile always letting you know that he was at one with the music and eager to collaborate with you, wherever the turn of phrase went.
So many memories, whether making great music all over the world or just sitting down for a meal. His stories about the Cleveland days were filled with childlike wonder. How could it not be so? The son of a great baritone, this must have been where he got his lyric voice. Studying with the best and then passing on those traditions were a hallmark of his life.
The last time we performed together was a few years ago in Detroit. We had gotten the news that Janos Starker had just passed away, minutes before we were to do the Dvorak. I knew he could not concentrate in his usual manner. Lynn announced to the audience that we had lost a great cellist and that it was time for some consoling Bach. I never knew my friend to be shaken by anything, but on that afternoon, his bow trembled and he was overcome by emotion.
Now it is my heart that is heavy with this loss. Lynn will be among the cellists in the celestial orchestra. It would not be like him to assume to sit first chair. But he does get to hear his father sing, “Ich habe Genug.”
RIP my dear friend.
UPDATE: Lynn in his own words: a recent podcast