There may be a better cellist than Lynn Harrell out there, but there’s certainly not a cheerier one. Known to bounce onstage beaming with the excited anticipation of someone about to embark upon a spine-tingling adventure, Harrell radiates joy when he plays, and the audience responds accordingly. His ebullience is all the more amazing when you think of the tragic circumstances of Harrell’s youth. His father died of cancer when he was 15, and his mother was killed in a car accident two years later. Armed with just “a suitcase and my cello,” the teenage orphan went off to make something of himself, and in just three years, at age 20, had become the principal cellist of the prestigious Cleveland Orchestra. Today, at 63, Harrell is still in top form, and he performs the kind of program that showcases his famous golden, sensuous tone — the great Franck A major Sonata, Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise Brilliante, Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, and Beethoven’s Seven Variations on “Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen” from Die Zauberflote — with his trusty recital partner Victor Santiago Asunción. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos; Fri., Jan. 26, 8 p.m.; $20-$36. (800) 300-4345 or

—Mary Beth Crain

LA Weekly