Songs My Father Taught Me

My father, bass-baritone Mack Harrell

I’m in Moscow right now as a judge for the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition but I wanted to post a note letting everyone know that today at 4:00pm Central Time, 98.7 WFMT is going to broadcast Song My Father Taught Me, which I’ve been recording with them for the past year. The program looks back on my own career and on that of my father, bass-baritone Mack Harrell. My special thanks to Louise Frank from WFMT for producing the program and putting so much of her own heart and soul into this as well as my friend and collaborator Victor Santiago Asuncion. Even if you don’t live in the Chicago area, you can still listen to the program at

I’ll be writing more about the competition very soon as today is our first day off since arriving so stay tuned!

13 Responses to Songs My Father Taught Me

  1. gisella June 20, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Hello – songs my father taught me, heard part of while driving. what was the cello/piano piece just before Verdi’s force of destiny (? peace)? how can i hear the entire program and get a playlist?
    thank you – beautiful!

    • lynn Harrell July 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

      Dear Gisella

      Contact WFMT radio Station in Chicago Ill. Louise Frank was the Producer. I think they will know whether or not they are for sale. I don’t recall the order of the works but I think you might mean Nana by DeFalla.

  2. Ben June 20, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Dear Mr. Harrell,

    I didn’t know where to post this, but I absolutely love your video on youtube where you play Chopin Nocturne No. 9 Op. 2. It is so beautiful and heartfelt!
    I am a cellist and I love the version you play of this work.
    Is there any way I could get ahold of your version?

    • lynn Harrell July 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      It is published by International Music Company, transcribed by David Popper, Casals recorded it in the 20’s. The cadenza is Casals’. I copied it from the recording. The harmonics are the right pitches but Casals played them as regular notes… Good luck , It is difficult but magnificent on the cello! Lynn Harrell

  3. Tamra July 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    Mr. Harrell,

    I heard this program on NPR. It was so beautiful. My daughter and I are singers and we’re also going to start taking cello lessons. =)

    I’m wondering if you can let me know the song and composer of the Spanish song you played on there. I would love to sing it.

    thanks you, Tamra

    • lynn Harrell July 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      Yes- It is one of 6 popular songs by Manuel deFalla , transcribed for cello and available in sheet music . Although quite expensive . If you want just this song , “Nana” I’d try asking any cellist they may have it… Lynn Harrell

  4. Francis C. McMullen August 1, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Dear Mr. Harrell,

    I was delighted to hear this radio program yesterday ( July 31, 2011 ) on our local public radio station.

    I became acquainted with Mack Harrell as an undergraduate music major ( Tuba major, Voice minor), in the voice studio of one of your father’s students: Richard Chapline.

    Mr. Chapline frequently spoke of your father during lessons, and always with the utmost respect and affection.

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us !


    Francis C. McMullen
    Scranton, Pennsylvania

    • lynn Harrell October 13, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      Thank you so much. It has been a great inner journey to unlock my father’s artistry and separate his being my Dad and how that has impacted my life both good and difficult. It always is very emotional to hear his work- I missed it when he was living- and it has so many fantastic artistic insights. I recently transferred a 1939 Town Hall recital from New York of Schubert and Wolf Lieder, I have been meaning to have it put on line, but…

      • maprophet May 19, 2015 at 10:33 am #

        I do hope the Town Hall recital will one day become available for all to enjoy. His artistry was very special.

  5. Will October 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Dear Mr Harrell,
    I have been listening to the second mov of the Schubert trio nº1 recording of you in youtube, and I cant stop listening to it, your playing is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.
    When are going to play in London or in Berlin?
    best regards,

    • lynn Harrell October 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      Thank you so much! I played at the Proms on August 3rd the Dutilleux Concerto, “tout en Monde Loitain”. I have no plans for the next few years for Berlin as well. But I am excited to return to Leipzig this season to play again the Shostakovich Concerto no. 2 with Riccardo Chailly, with whom I played it years ago when he was Music Director or the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. It is a great work, and I am delighted to have this opportunity of revisiting a great work with a great conductor. I recently recorded for the second time the 1st concerto with the Seattle Symphony and Gerard Schwartz and I was so pleased to do this great concerto with John Ceminaro, hornist. He is a great master. A different kind of playing than a live concert with the New York Philharmonic with Lorin Maazel on DGG Concerts Live available on iTunes. I hope to play a few more times in Europe in the future.

      • lynn Harrell October 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

        There was a performance of the two trios from the Philharmonie of us after our recording sessions and was our last concert together. It was 11/10/96. I think that it is October 11, not Nov. 10, because of the european way of listing dates: day/month/year, but I could be wrong..! It was broadcast on the radio and I feel that it was better than the recording for London/Decca. The sound also I think was better. You can hear the audience in between the movements, too! Good luck to find it somewhere…

  6. Shelah Leader December 7, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Hello, I heard a recording of you playing a transcription of Dvorak’s Songs My Mother? Taught Me on WQXR radio and tried to find the sheet music at Julliard’s book store. I am an adult novice cello player and would dearly love to try to play that piece. Would you be kind enough to share a copy with me or tell me how to buy it somewhere? It has inspired me to practice more.
    Thank you,
    Shelah Leader

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