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November 2014
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Cellist Lynn Harrell’s Chicago Roots are Showing


Encore Presentation of Lynn Harrell on Live from WFMT, Monday at 8:00 pm

In August of 1965, Billboard magazine printed a recap of the Ravinia festival, which had opened on a 40-degree evening in the middle of June. Aaron Copland and Igor Stravinsky had conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra that summer. “Ravinia perennial” Elizabeth Schwarzkopf sang; the festival’s 29-year-old music director Seiji Ozawa conducted, and Ella Fitzgerald performed on the “popular artist” series. There was a 21-year-old cellist by the name of Lynn Harrell who gave a recital – that was the beginning of a long and celebrated relationship which continues to unfold in Chicago’s musical life.

Over the last 50 years, Lynn Harrell has shared Chicago’s stages with the CSO, conductors James Conlon, James Levine, Sir Georg Solti; other orchestras, like the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. He’s given masterclasses at area universities and music shops, and played chamber concerts with artists ranging from Isaac Stern to Gil Shaham, not to mention a number of collaborations with CSO principals.

With an opera star for a father (bass Mack Harrell), Lynn Harrell doesn’t remember life without music; and Chicago is a regular stop on the career path of many musicians. As he told WFMT’s Studs Terkel in 1982, Mr. Harrell met conductor James Levine – not in Chicago – but when they were 13 years old in the Harrell’s garage. Their rendezvous in Chicago would come later:

This week on Live from WFMT, hear cello virtuoso Lynn Harrell with pianist Victor Santiago Ascuncion in music and conversation with Kerry Frumkin.

Read about the WFMT special Songs My Father Taught Me, produced by Louise Frank, in which Lynn Harrell finds musical inspiration in the recordings of his late father, Mack Harrell.

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