US cellist David Wells has died at the age of 85. Best known for his performances of the Bach Cello Suites, he co-founded the Yellow Barn Music School and Festival in Vermont.

Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Wells began playing the cello when he was nine, and studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Diran Alexanian and Raya Garbousova. He performed as a soloist and chamber musician, and was a former member of the Manhattan Trio, the Hartt Quartet and the Columbia Concert Trio. He also toured extensively with his pianist wife Janet in the Wells Duo.

In 1969, after moving to Putney, Vermont, Wells and his wife founded Yellow Barn. What began as an informal summer retreat for Wells's students at the Manhattan School of Music evolved into a leading chamber music performance and training centre. Its Young Artist Program is led by a high-calibre faculty which this summer included Laurence Lesser, Donald Weilerstein and Kim Kashkashian.

Wells also taught at the Hartt School of Music and the New England Conservatory, where he was on the faculty from 1983 to 2001.