Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma

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Essential Albums

  • Six Evolutions - Bach: Cello Suites
  • Brahms: The Piano Trios
  • Golijov: Azul
  • Sing Me Home

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About Yo-Yo Ma

More than the undisputed cello virtuoso of our time, Yo-Yo Ma is a champion of cross-cultural engagement and musical activism, as at home in Bach and Brazilian music as he is in Elgar and film scores or Appalachian and Mongolian folk songs. With a catalog of more than 100 albums, he has played for nine U.S. presidents and is a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris, Ma began cello studies with his father at age four. Three years later, the family moved to the U.S., where he attended the Juilliard School and Harvard University. After winning the Avery Fisher Prize in 1978, he signed to CBS Masterworks (now Sony Classical), for which he has thrice recorded Bach’s Cello Suites, in 1983, 1998, and 2018. Ma’s classical repertoire has been anchored in longstanding collaborations with, among others, pianist Emanuel Ax, bassist Edgar Meyer, and violinist Isaac Stern. In 1998, Ma established the Silkroad Ensemble, a far-reaching international performance collective. Since the 1990s, he has pursued jazz with vocalist Bobby McFerrin (1992’s Hush), bluegrass on Appalachia Waltz (1996) and The Goat Rodeo Sessions (2011), Astor Piazzolla on Soul of the Tango (1997), and film music in Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Though Ma is a familiar face at gatherings of world leaders, among his recent projects is Songs of Comfort and Hope (2020), a homespun social media and recording project made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paris, France
October 7, 1955

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