NY and Philly lament principal cellist

NY and Philly lament principal cellist


norman lebrecht

May 05, 2020

The death is reported of the legendary Lorne Munroe, principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1951 to 1964 and of the New York Philharmonic from 1964 to 1996. He was a featured soloist more than 150 times with the New York Phil. He also taught at Juilliard.

Canadian by origin and a student of Piatigorsky (whom he faintly resembled), Lorne married violist Janée Munroe in 1945 and had 10 sons and a daughter.

His death, aged 95, was reported by a grandson.



  • Maher younsi says:

    R.I.P, Lorne Munroe .

  • MacroV says:

    I only heard a few of those 150 solo performances but I always loved listening to Lorne Munroe.

    I don’t know about Piatigorsky, but I always thought he resembled former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

    • Jan Kaznowski says:

      He was the cellist who, in the Brahms Double concerto, whipped the violin out of Rodney Friend’s hands with a frenzied bow stroke . Needed about a year to repair.

      • Simon Scott says:

        The damage must have been pretty extensive. Was the fiddle ever the same after?
        Probably not…..

  • Mattew Rubeli Switzerland says:

    I was fortunate to be his student in 1972/73. Many great memories of a great and fabulous person and musician.

  • JamesM says:

    Lorne was born in Winnipeg, Canada, as was Zara Nelsova (who was six years older). There was a teacher in Winnipeg by the name of Dezsö Mahalek who had studied with David Popper. Lorne and Zara both studied with Mahalek. Shows what an influential mentor can discover.

  • Robert M says:

    In June,1968 I attended a once-in-a-lifetime performance of Beethoven’s Ninth at what was then Avery Fisher Hall with Leonard Bernstein conducting the NY Philharmonic. My seat was in the front row only a few feet from Lorne Monroe. While that was over fifty years ago, every time I hear the Ninth begin with those opening tremolos on the cellos I think of him, of Lenny, and that wonderful performance.

  • Simon Scott says:

    Three great cellists have left us in the space of a few days.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Beautiful tone, beautiful musician.
    Lived a long life.
    Good for you, Lorne!