Lynn Harrell’s cello is back in play, thanks to you

Lynn Harrell’s cello is back in play, thanks to you


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2022

The American cellist’s widow Helen Nightengale has set up a foundation in his memory. She writes:

Our home used to be filled with the sounds of Lynn practicing, each note rousing the senses and soothing the spirit. 

Then when Lynn died almost two years ago, I packed up his cello and stored it in the back of my closet. There it sat for a year as my children, and I processed his death and the deafening quiet in a house that had known the daily practice and music that Lynn brought.

As a family, we want his cello to make the beautiful music it was created for once again. We realize that the cello was his voice and personality, and it shouldn’t be silenced.   

Today, January 30, would have been Lynn’s 78th birthday and to celebrate we are launching the Foundations first program, the Harrell Dungey Cello Loan Competition. This program will allow a deserving young cellist to use Lynn’s cello for the next two years.  

We’ve already started laying the groundwork for this program, but to make this competition as accessible as possible, I need your support.  

Giving directly to the Lynn Harrell Foundation, Cello Lending Program helps us make sure the cello stays in pristine condition and protected while in the hands of a budding cellist. Our goal is to raise $25,000 for this program to create the groundwork for not only this year’s candidate but for those that follow.

It will also guarantee that the winning candidate is not burdened with any additional financial costs resulting from winning.  

Will you consider making a gift today to give Lynn’s cello new life and be a voice to a new generation?

Please donate now.



  • EagleArts says:

    What became of his Strad and Montagnana cellos?

  • Harold Kupper says:

    This article isn’t very helpful in providing information about the actual Harrell cello which was built by the Colorado based American luthier Peter Dungey around 2010.
    I believe the sale price at the time was in the 70K range.
    The maker would also include a thin concrete pad of sorts that apparently enhanced the sound of the cello.
    Lynn Harrell could make almost any cello sound extraordinary.

  • Qwerty1234 says:

    What a lovely cause!

    Adrian Brendel now plays the Montagnana and István Várdai plays the strad.

  • Larry W says:

    Pictured is Lynn’s Montagnana cello. Lynn was very fond of his Dungey cello. You can hear it here in Beethoven’s Eyeglass Duo.