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] In 1945, he married violist Janée Munroe, with whom he had 10 sons and one daughter. Janée died September 10, 2006.[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. He continued his studies in Philadelphia at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a student of cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and Orlando Cole.[1]

After serving during World War II, he graduated from Curtis. In 1949, he was the sole winner of 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