Visit this artist's website: http://www.yo-yoma.com
YO-YO MA’s multi-faceted career is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music, or exploring cultures and musical forms outside the Western classical tradition, Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination.
Yo-Yo Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as soloist with orchestras throughout the world and his recital and chamber music activities. He draws inspiration from a wide circle of collaborators, creating programs with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, Kayhan Kalhor, Ton Koopman, Yu Long, Bobby McFerrin, Edgar Meyer, Mark Morris, Riccardo Muti, Mark O’Connor, Cristina Pato, Kathryn Stott, Chris Thile, Michael Tilson Thomas, Wu Man, Wu Tong, Damian Woetzel, and David Zinman. One of Ma’s goals is the exploration of music as a means of communication and as a vehicle for the migration of ideas across a range of cultures throughout the world. Expanding upon this interest, in 1998, Ma established Silkroad, a nonprofit organization that seeks to create meaningful change at the intersections of the arts, education and business. Under his artistic direction, Silkroad presents performances by the acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble and develops new music, cultural partnerships, education programs, and cross-disciplinary collaborations. More than 80 new musical and multimedia works have been commissioned for the Silk Road Ensemble from composers and arrangers around the world.
As the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, Ma is partnering with Maestro Riccardo Muti to provide collaborative musical leadership and guidance on innovative program development for The Negaunee Music Institute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and for Chicago Symphony artistic initiatives. Ma’s work focuses on the transformative power music can have in individuals’ lives, and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities.
Yo-Yo Ma is strongly committed to educational programs that not only bring young audiences into contact with music but also allow them to participate in its creation. While touring, he takes time whenever possible to conduct master classes as well as more informal programs for students – musicians and non-musicians alike.
Ma’s discography of over 90 albums (including 18 Grammy winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. He has made several successful recordings that defy categorization, among them two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil. His most recent album, Songs from the Arc of Life, with pianist Kathryn Stott, was released in September 2015. In 2009, Sony Classical released a box set of over 90 albums to commemorate Ma’s 30 years as a Sony recording artist.
Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years. Later, his principal teacher was Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. He sought out a traditional liberal arts education to expand upon his conservatory training, graduating from Harvard University in 1976.
Yo-Yo Ma and his wife have two children. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.