Lorne Munroe

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Lorne Munroe (born November 24, 1924) is an American cellist.[1] He was principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1951 to 1964 and principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic from 1964 to 1996. He was a featured soloist more than 150 times during the 32 seasons he played for the New York Philharmonic. His last performance with the orchestra as a member of the ensemble was on February 27, 1996; although he has since returned as a guest artist.[2] He married violist Janee Munroe in 1945 with whom he had 10 sons and one daughter. His wife died September 10, 2006 after 61 years of marriage.[3]


Munroe was born in Winnipeg, Canada. When he was 3 years old, he learned to play the cello by using a viola with a leg attached.[1] He won the Winnipeg Music Competition festival at 10. At age 14, he was sponsored by composer Arthur Benjamin to attend the Royal College of Music in London in 1937–39. In his final year, he played with Benjamin a piece the composer wrote for Munroe. His apprenticeship continued in Philadelphia at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a student of cellist Gregor Piatigorsky.[1]

After serving during World War II, he completed his apprenticeship at the Curtis. In 1949, he won the Naumburg award and made his recital debut in New York in November of that year. In 1949-50 he performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, before taking two positions as principal cello, first with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1950–51, and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1951.[1]

In 1964, he was invited by Leonard Bernstein to become the principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic. This period also saw him performing as a soloist.[1] One such occasion was during a Young People's Concert broadcast aired Christmas Day, 1968, in a performance of Richard Strauss' Don Quixote.

He also taught at the Juilliard School and at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (now University of the Arts).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Gibson, Ronald and Winters, Kenneth, "Munroe, Lorne*, Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Accessed 12 March 2009
  2. ^ Broznan, Nadine, "Chronicle", New York Times, January 22, 1996. Accessed 12 March 2009
  3. ^ Obituary of Janee Munroe