HEARTbeats Foundation Board

Lynn Harrell, President

Lynn HarrellLynn Harrell’s presence is felt throughout the musical world. A consummate soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, conductor and teacher, his work throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia has placed him in the highest echelon of today’s performing artists.

Mr. 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 partners with the orchestras of London, Munich, Berlin, Tonhalle and Israel. He has also toured extensively to Australia and New Zealand as well as the Far East, including Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In the summer of 1999 Mr. Harrell was featured in a three-week “Lynn Harrell Cello Festival” with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He regularly collaborates with such noted conductors as James Levine, Sir Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, Leonard Slatkin, Yuri Temirkanov, Michael Tilson Thomas and David Zinman.

In recent seasons Mr. Harrell has particularly enjoyed collaborating with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and pianist, André Previn. In January 2004 the trio appeared with the New York Philharmonic performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Maestro Masur conducting. An important part of Lynn Harrell’s life is summer music festivals, which include appearances at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Aspen and Grand Tetons festivals, and the Amelia Island Festival.

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On April 7, 1994, Lynn Harrell appeared at the Vatican with the Royal Philharmonic in a concert dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The audience for this historic event, which was the Vatican’s first official commemoration of the Holocaust, included Pope John Paul II and the Chief Rabbi of Rome. That year Mr. Harrell also appeared live at the Grammy Awards with Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, performing an excerpt from their Grammy-nominated recording of the complete Beethoven String Trios (Angel/EMI).

Highlights from an extensive discography of more than 30 recordings include the complete Bach Cello Suites (London/Decca), the world-premiere recording of Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields led by Marriner (London/Decca), the Walton Concerto with Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI), and the Donald Erb Concerto with Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony (New World). Together with Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy, Mr. Harrell was awarded two Grammy Awards – in 1981 for the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio and in 1987 for the complete Beethoven Piano Trios (both Angel/EMI). A recording of the Schubert Trios with Mr. Ashkenazy and Pinchas Zukerman (London/Decca) was released in February 2000. His May 2000 recording with Kennedy, “Duos for Violin & Cello,” received unanimous critical acclaim (EMI). Most recently, Mr. Harrell recorded Tchaikovsky’s Variations for Cello and Orchestra on a Rococo Theme, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, and Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Gerard Schwarz conducting (Classico).

In June, 2010  along with his wife, violinist Helen Nightengale, he founded the HEARTbeats Foundation, a 501(c) charity. Based in Los Angeles, the HEARTbeats Foundation strives to help children in need harness the power of music to better cope with, and recover from, the extreme challenges of poverty and conflict, in hope of creating a more peaceful, sustainable world for generations to come. Mr. Harrell serves as a board officer and Artist Ambassador, a capacity that allows him to work directly with children in in need.

Coming Soon.

Helen Nightengale, Vice-President

Having the possibility at this time in my life to be able to pool my resources with friends and colleagues and start a foundation that will actively put all of this into play became very important and necessary to me.

As a small child growing up in a small town I was always fascinated with my neighbors rituals. I loved peering in windows at dusk during late afternoon walks with my parents and watching my friends and their families prepare dinner. Watching them together sitting together around a table full of food always gave me such a warm comforting feeling and I knew that shortly, I too would be at home, with my family around a table sharing a meal. I can’t remember exactly what year it was but I know I was not yet a teenager. I “adopted” a child from India through Unicef, and sent her my allowance every month and in return, received a letter and picture detailing her life and family. I remember thinking how inconceivable it was that this child had no family and no home with food on the table to return to every evening after school – if she even went to school. It made a tremendous impression on me at that time.

My mother, being a refugee from Germany in the 1930’s, knew all about being homeless, having nothing but the clothes on one’s back and having to depend on others to survive. She spent much of her life giving back to her community even as she had graduated in the top of her law school class at Yale University and could have chosen a much different path. Her influence and others like her in my life cemented the path that I eventually was to take. While I was enrolled in the Eastman School of Music in the early 80’s, music therapy was just starting to take hold and be recognized as an important part of helping others to cope with difficult situations. I was very interested but there was no real degree program available so I continued with my music performance work but always looked for opportunities to play in hospitals for the sick, retirement homes for the elderly and schools for the young and disadvantaged.

Having the possibility at this time in my life to be able to pool my resources with friends and colleagues and start a foundation that will actively put all of this into play became very important and necessary to me. There are so many children in the world without access to any form of self-expression who are forced to find other –sometimes much more dangerous and destructive means- to cope with the difficulty in their lives. I hope that through our HEARTbeats Foundation we can build a bridge for them to find their “voices” and help start healing whatever wounds they may have. So many of these children cannot go outside their own borders be it physical or emotional so we hope to give them access to that freedom through music and art. It takes such a small amount of caring and attention to give hope and the possibility of a better tomorrow for these children. Even if we are only able to reach one in a hundred and make their lives better through our efforts, we will have succeeded.

Helen Nightengale

Helen Nightengale

Helen Nightengale began violin studies at the age of two, and has performed since the age of 10. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Nightengale has performed as a soloist and chamber musician around the world, and has held  numerous symphonic positions, including concertmaster positions with the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, Frankfurt Opera, and the Hamburg Philharmonic.

Nightengale is a frequent guest artist of many chamber music festivals including Aspen, La Jolla Sommerfest, Santa Fe and the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, where she has performed with some of today’s great artists including Hilary Hahn, Cho Liang Lin, Paul Neubauer, Michael Tree, Lynn Harrell, Jon Kimura Parker, Horatio Gutierrez, Jeffrey Kahane, Steven Hough and Vladimir Feltsman.

In June 2010, Ms. Nightengale and her husband, cellist Lynn Harrell, were named Artist Ambassador’s for the Save the Children Foundation and their HEART (Healing through Education and Art) campaign. As a result of this appointment, they formed a non-profit, “HEARTbeats Foundation, Inc” which will, in addition to other organizations, raise money and awareness for the HEART program.

Together, Harrell and Nightengale are producing an album of original songs sung by some of today’s biggest classical artists including, Jessye Norman, Christine Brewer and Rod Gilfry to name a few. HEARTbeats Foundation will also be taking them around the world to work with children who have been affected by war and conflict, extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS. Their first trip will be in December 2010 when they will travel to Nepal as Artist Ambassadors for Save the Children.