Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma

October 7, 1955 -

Yo-Yo Ma was born on October 7, 1955 in Paris, France to Chinese parents. Ma began playing the cello at the age of four. Later he studied with Janos Scholz and in 1962 he was a student of Leonard Rose at the Juillard School. In 1978 he was the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize.

Having graduated from Harvard, Ma initially carved a place for himself in the musical world performing Johan Sebastian Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello. Ma continued to play classical music, but he also ventured out into new areas experimenting with folk music. Then in 1991 he received an honorary doctorate from Harvard.

Ma has often performed special music for children, such as Luke the Iceberg, a musical folk tale about the environment. He has also made guest appearances on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street and recorded the album Hush with vocalist Bobby McFerrin. Ma has two children of his own.

Ma returned to J. S. Bach’s music to celebrate the 250th anniversary of this famous composer’s death. At this time he played Bach’s music on his own cello reconfigured as a Baroque instrument.

In addition to classical music Ma has played traditional fiddle music, folk music of territories along the ancient silk trading route, native Chinese music, and the music of the Kalahari bush people of Africa. His most recent undertaking has been the musical score, done in collaboration with composer Tan Dan, for director Ang Lee’s film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Having won 13 Grammy Awards and performing for almost 50 albums, Yo-Yo Ma continues to play and amaze the musical world.



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