Cellist Lynn Harrell returns to Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Cellist Lynn Harrell returns to Aspen

Susannah Luthi
Special to The Aspen Times

Christian Steiner

Acclaimed cellist Lynn Harrell has known, and been known by, the Aspen Music Festival and School since the festival’s inception in 1949.

The son of baritone Mack Harrell, who was among the festival’s first artist-faculty members, Harrell spent his childhood summers here in Aspen. He was also developing musical talent of his own, taught by noted cello instructors such as Leonard Rose.

But at an early age, Lynn Harrell had to strike out independently. By the time he was 17, both his parents had died, and he soon went to work playing for the Cleveland Orchestra.

Since then, he has launched a high-profile, international solo career that has included many seasons as an artist-faculty member in Aspen. Now, after four years away, he returns for today’s 4 p.m. Aspen Festival Orchestra concert, conducted by Houston Symphony Music Director Hans Graf. He’s bringing his musical insight to bear on Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor.

On Wednesday, July 26, Harrell, along with pianist Joanne Pearce Martin and violinist Helen Nightengale will be in Harris Concert Hall for an intimate Special Event concert that showcases the kind of warm, intuitive performances for which he’s known.

The 8 p.m. program will range from Debussy’s fluid and melancholic Cello Sonata to Ravel’s visceral Sonata for Violin and Cello, finishing with Brahms’s Cello Sonata No. 2.

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When Harrell’s not traveling the world with his music ” he arrived in Aspen after giving a concert tour in China ” he is also a teacher. Currently, he is based at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Texas. He has also held the International Chair for Cello Studies at the Royal Academy in London.

Festival students and audiences will be able to glean some of his instruction, as well ” at Tuesday’s 1 p.m. Distinguished Artist Master Class he’ll present at Harris Concert Hall.

Harrell has been acclaimed as an “artist of great gifts and deep experience” by the Seattle Post Intelligencer, and as “technically flawless, excitingly virtuosic” by the Baltimore Sun.

Throughout his more than 50-year performing career, he has created a rich world with his artistic mastery. This week brings him back to Aspen, to usher local audiences into that world again.