Cellist receives major honor from Baylor

Lynn Harrell, a renowned cellist who has played with groups around the world, will be performing at Baylor on Feb. 17. Courtesy Photo
Lynn Harrell, a renowned cellist who has played with groups around the world, will be performing at Baylor on Feb. 17.Courtesy Photo

By Candy Rendon

Renowned cellist Lynn Harrell, who has performed around the world, will appear next on Baylor University’s Distinguished Artist Series.

This guest performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 in Jones Concert Hall, located within the Glennis McCrary Music Building. Harrell will also join his friend, pianist Victor Asunción.

“Playing the cello requires a great deal of strength and power,” Harrell said. “Oftentimes, people think my power comes from the fact that I am a very large man. I assure you it is helpful, but I also assure you that many people can play with perhaps twice as much power if they used what nature has intended them to use.”

“Gravity and weight,” Harrell said, “are what need to be utilized.”

The program will open with two compositions by the great German master, Ludwig van Beethoven. They will play Beethoven’s “Seven Variations in E-flat major” on a Theme from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” “WoO 46,” and then the “Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69.” Following intermission, the duo will play Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Sonata in G minor, Op. 19.”

Lynn Harrell was born in New York to musician parents, the baritone Mack Harrell and the violinist Marjorie Fulton. He began his musical studies in Dallas (with Lev Aronson) and proceeded to the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. Another of his teachers was Leonard Rose.

Harrell joined the string section of George Szell’s Cleveland Orchestra in 1962 and served as that orchestra’s principal cellist from 1964 until 1971, the year after Szell’s death. Harrell is a frequent guest of many leading orchestras, including Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and the National Symphony. In Europe, he appears regularly with the orchestras of London, Munich, Berlin, Tonhalle and Israel.

Harrell is also a cello teacher. He is widely known for his educator status. During the late ’80s and early ’90s, he held the International Chair for Cello Studies at the Royal Academy in London, and he was Artistic Director of the orchestra, chamber music and conductor-training program at the L.A. Philharmonic Institute. In 1993, he became head of the Royal Academy in London, a post he held through 1995.

Harrell has given master classes at the Verbier and Aspen festivals and in major metropolitan areas throughout the world. He also taught cello at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston from 2002 to 2009.

Lynn’s frequent collaborator and friend Victor Asunción will also be joining Lynn on Feb. 17 playing piano.

Hailed by the Washington Post for his “poised and imaginative playing,” pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion is recognized as a pianist of innate musical sensitivity, fiery temperament and superb technique. He has appeared in major concert halls in Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and in his native Philippines.

Tickets are available at www.baylor.edu/music, or in person at the Baylor University School of Music box office in the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

The telephone number for the box office is 254-710-3571. Any unsold tickets will be available for purchase at the door, beginning thirty minutes prior to the concert.