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Yo-Yo Ma

Multiple Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma has a celebrity status and appeal that stretch far beyond fans of classical music. His success is due to a willingness to try new things, a genuine wish to share what he enjoys, plus a mastery of his instrument that comes through regardless of the musical style.

Ma was born in Paris and, as the child of two musicians, naturally began music lessons very early, trying piano and all the string instruments before settling on cello. His first public performance was at the age of five. Ma's family moved to New York when Ma was seven so he could study with Janos Scholz. Before the age of ten, Ma had performed for Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, and had appeared on television with his sister in a concert led by Leonard Bernstein and on The Tonight Show. Ma became a student of Leonard Rose at Juilliard, but did not complete his studies there. He was inspired by seeing the commitment of nonagenarian Pablo Casals at the Marlboro Festival and enrolled at Harvard to finish his degree.

Ma received the Avery Fisher Prize in 1978, and his breakout album was 1983's Bach: The Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites. Many composers, including William Bolcom, Tod Machover, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, and Bright Sheng, have written pieces for him. Ma worked with Tan Dun on his Symphony 1997 and the score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and with John Williams on the scores for Seven Years in Tibet and Memoirs of a Geisha. During the 1980s, many of Ma's recordings were traditional repertoire with pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Isaac Stern. In the mid-'90s, he returned to the Bach Suites, recording them for six short films in collaboration with director Atom Egoyan, ice dancers Torvill & Dean, dancer Mark Morris, and other artists. He also began exploring other types of music: improvising alongside Bobby McFerrin on Hush (1992), then bluegrass with Edgar Meyer and Mark O'Connor on Appalachia Waltz (1996). In 1998, Ma founded the Silk Road Ensemble to explore the music of cultures found along the early trade route. His popular releases include 2003's Obrigado Brazil; 2004's Vivaldi's Cello; and 2011's Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan.

In 2001 he was awarded the American National Medal by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2006 he was named one of the United Nations' Peace Ambassadors. He has served on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and worked with outreach programs with the Chicago Symphony and, with the Silk Road Ensemble, the New York public schools. Ma has appeared on television's Sesame Street, The Simpsons, and The Colbert Report and at events such as the 2002 Olympic Games opening ceremonies, Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, and a service honoring Boston Marathon bombing victims. ~ Patsy Morita
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: New Impossibilities

Composer: Rabih Abou-khalil
Title: Arabian Waltz, For Oud, String Quartet, Tuba & Frame Dtrum

1. Arabian Waltz, For Oud, String Quartet, Tuba & Frame Dtrum: Arabian Waltz

Composer: Osvaldo Golijov
Title: Night Of The Flying Horses

2. Night Of The Flying Horses: Night Of The Flying Horses: I. Lullaby - II. Doina - III. Gallop

Composer: Hai-Hai Huang
Title: Galloping Horses

3. Galloping Horses: Galloping Horses

Composer: Zhou Long
Title: Song Of Eight Unruly Tipsy Poets

4. Song Of Eight Unruly Tipsy Poets: Song Of Eight Unruly Tipsy Poets

Composer: Sandeep Das
Title: Shristi

5. Shristi: Shristi

Composer: Kayhan Kalhor
Title: The Silent City

6. The Silent City: The Silent City

Composer: Traditional
Title: Ambush From Ten Sides
Composer: Sandeep Das
Title: Vocussion
x

Track List: Appassionato

Composer: John Williams (Guitar)
Title: Going To School, For Cello & Piano

1. Going To School, For Cello & Piano: Going To School

Composer: César Franck
Title: Sonata For Violin & Piano In A Major, M. 8

2. Sonata For Violin & Piano In A Major, M. 8: IV. Allegretto Poco Mosso

Composer: George Gershwin
Title: Preludes (3) For Piano

3. Preludes (3) For Piano: II. Andante Con Moto E Poco Rubato

Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
Title: "Winter" From The Four Seasons, Concerto For Violin, Strings & Continuo In F Minor ("L'inverno"), Op. 8/4, Rv 297

4. "Winter" From The Four Seasons, Concerto For Violin, Strings & Continuo In F Minor ("L'inverno"), Op. 8/4, Rv 297: II. Largo

Composer: Jacob do Bandolim
Title: Doce de Coco

5. Doce de Coco: Doce De Coco

Composer: Dmitry Kabalevsky
Title: Cello Concerto No. 1 In G Minor, Op. 49

6. Cello Concerto No. 1 In G Minor, Op. 49: II. Largo, Molto Espressivo

Composer: Ennio Morricone
Title: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, Film Score (Aka Cinama Paradiso)

7. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, Film Score (Aka Cinama Paradiso): Cinema Paradiso

Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Title: Carnival Of The Animals, Zoological Fantasy For 2 Pianos & Ensemble

8. Carnival Of The Animals, Zoological Fantasy For 2 Pianos & Ensemble: 13. The Swan

Composer: Chinese Traditional
Title: Yanzi (Swallow Song) (Kazakh)

9. Yanzi (Swallow Song) (Kazakh): Yanzi (Swallow Song)

Composer: Johannes Brahms
Title: Concerto For Violin, Cello & Orchestra In A Minor ("Double"), Op. 102

10. Concerto For Violin, Cello & Orchestra In A Minor ("Double"), Op. 102: II. Andante

Composer: Astor Piazzolla
Title: Soledad, Tango

11. Soledad, Tango: Soledad

Composer: Michio Mamiya
Title: Finnish Folksongs (5), For Cello & Piano

12. Finnish Folksongs (5), For Cello & Piano: No. 4. Mikin Pekko

Composer: Edgar Meyer
Title: First Impressions, For Violin, Cello & Piano

13. First Impressions, For Violin, Cello & Piano: First Impressions

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Title: Song Without Words For Cello & Piano In D Major, Op. 109

14. Song Without Words For Cello & Piano In D Major, Op. 109: Lied Ohne Worte Op. 109

Composer: Ennio Morricone
Title: Gabriel's Oboe, Theme From The Film "The Mission"

15. Gabriel's Oboe, Theme From The Film "The Mission": Gabriel's Oboe From 'The Mission'

x

Track List: The Dvorak Album

x

Track List: Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet

Composer: Byambasuren Sharav
Title: Legend Of Herlen
Composer: Chinese Traditional
Title: Blue Little Flower
Title: Mido Mountain
Composer: Zhao Jiping
Title: Moon Over Guan Mountains
Composer: Michio Mamiya
Title: Finnish Folksongs (5), For Cello & Piano
Composer: Persian Traditional
Title: Avaz-e Dashti
Composer: Franguiz Ali-Zadeh
Title: Habil-Sajahy For Cello & Prepared Piano
Composer: Kayhan Kalhor
Title: Blue As The Turquoise Night Of Neyshabur

10. Blue As The Turquoise Night Of Neyshabur: Blue As The Turquoise Night Of Neyshabur

Composer: Fillippo Azzaiolo
Title: Chi Passa Per 'sta Strada, For Voices, Lutes & Violin
Composer: Tan Dun
Title: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Film Score
x

Track List: Soul of the Tango: The Music of Astor Piazzolla

Composer: Astor Piazzolla
Title: Libertango, Tango

1. Libertango, Tango: Libertango, Tango

Title: Tango Suite For 2 Guitars
Title: Regreso Al Amor, Tango (from Film, Sur)
Title: Le Grand Tango, For Cello & Piano
Title: Fugata, Tango
Composer: Jorge Calandrelli
Title: Tango Remembrances

7. Tango Remembrances: Tango Remembrances

Composer: Astor Piazzolla
Title: Mumuki, Tango
Title: Tres Minutos Con La Realidad, Tango
Title: Milonga Del áNgel, Tango (From áNgel Series)
Title: L'histoire Du Tango, Tango Cycle For Flute & Guitar
Title: Data_track
x

Track List: Yo-Yo Ma Plays Paganini, Kreisler, Dvorak

Composer: Fritz Kreisler
Title: Tambourin Chinois, For Violin & Piano, Op. 3
Title: Serenade For Violin & Piano (transcription From Lehár's Frasquita)
Title: Rondino On A Theme By Beethoven, For Violin & Piano
Title: Indian Lament For Violin & Piano (arr. From Dvorák's Sonatina For Violin & Piano, Op. 100)
Title: Songs My Mother Taught Me For Violin & Piano (transcription Of Dvorak's Gypsy Songs, Op. 55/4)
Title: Schön Rosmarin, For Violin & Piano
Title: Liebesfreud "Love's Joy" For Violin & Piano
Title: Liebesleid "Love's Sorrow" For Violin & Piano
Composer: Niccolò Paganini
Title: Caprice For Solo Violin In E Major ("The Hunt"), Op. 1/9, Ms 25/9
Title: Caprice For Solo Violin In B Flat Major ("The Devil's Chuckle"), Op. 1/13, MS 25/13
Title: Caprice For Solo Violin In E Flat Major (Moderato), Op. 1/14, MS 25/14
Title: Caprice For Solo Violin In E Flat Major (Sostenuto-Andante), Op. 1/17, MS 25/17
Title: Caprice For Solo Violin In A Minor (Theme & Variations), Op. 1/24
Title: Introduction And Variations On "Dal Tuo Stellato Soglio" From Rossini's "Mosè", For Violin & Orchestra, Ms 23
x

Track List: Beethoven: Complete Sonatas for Piano & Cello

Disc 1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 1 In F Major, Op. 5/1
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 2 In G Minor, Op. 5/2
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 4 In C Major, Op. 102/1
Disc 2
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 3 In A Major, Op. 69
Title: Sonata For Cello & Piano No. 5 In D Major, Op. 102/2
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In E Flat Major On Mozart's "Bei Männern," Woo 46
Title: Variations For Cello & Piano In F Major On Mozart's "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen," Op. 66
x

Track List: Inspired By Bach: The Cello Suites (Remastered)

Disc 1
Title: Suite For Solo Cello No. 1 In G Major, Bwv 1007
Title: Suite For Solo Cello No. 2 In D Minor, Bwv 1008
Title: Suite For Solo Cello No. 3 In C Major, Bwv 1009
Title: Suite For Solo Cello No. 4 In E Flat Major, Bwv 1010
Disc 2
Title: Suite For Solo Cello No. 5 In C Minor, Bwv 1011
Title: Suite For Solo Cello No. 6 In D Major, Bwv 1012

Comments

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his music is nice soft and relaxing
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ametrineq
You are awesome I love your music
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Amazing!
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F6
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Don't stop this is freaky! But if you read this and ignore it you will get bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen. This is so creepy because it actually works
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ljoiner730
Calming and soothing. The man has a gift!
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,cannot connect
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LOVE his music! It feeds my spirit!
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kabrickh2
Going to one of his concerts for my birthday in three days :) can't wait!
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I love Yo-Yo Ma he inspired me to start playing the cello now I'm first chair in my orchestra I want to go to one of his concerts
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And his daughter is probly 24 now
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First comment was in 2008
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I am listening to a station after him right now
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Wha?! Oh
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Grhjy
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Getting tiered to relaxing uhhhhutdgrge r k g h r e n u
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I absolutely love him. No question. His talent is amazing.
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marmergillan o
Zzzzzzzzzz
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Too gorgeous for words. Beautiful and so inspiring.
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schmemma9
Why is the bio for ludovico einaudi
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merleenrosel l
I love his work because i play cello as well
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Yo yo ma is one of my favorite cellist. Truly exceptional and he is still alive
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Um....Yo-Yo Ma is Asian, right? That guy is soo not Yo-Yo Ma...
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So, where is Yo-Yo Ma's bio????
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Hmm, Emmanuel Ax's bio popped when I selected Yo-Yo Ma's. Curious.
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jamdavmiller
Why is the biography for Itzhak Perlman and not Yo-yo Ma. Where is Yo-yo Ma's biography?
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newfie_lover 5
Why is the bio on this page of John Williams? I want to see the bio of Yo Yo Ma!!
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A truly great cellist. I have scene him on TV and have listened to some of his recordings.
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Cello=best instrument EVER
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lee.ann.coll i n s
cello suite number 1 in G major
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I LOVE his Songs of Peace and Joy CD - duets with some incredible artists including a heartfelt rendition of Here Comes the Sun with James Taylor that I'm certain George Harrison would have loved. : < )
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I love Yo-Yo Ma, he is my favorite, he's the bomb at cello. he's why i started playing the cello.
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deekearney
Why is this bio written as if Ma is dead? "was the cello's foremost contemporary proponent" If that position has been overtaken by someone else then say so. Otherwise don't print his obituary before his demise.
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He touches my soul...
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They're missing so many albums! His picture is with Bobby McFerrin and they don't even have an album with the two of them playing together. Come on Pandora. If you don't get more competitive with music selection, you're going to get dropped for other sites.
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these are a good start. also looking for "Appalachian Journey" and "Appalachian Waltz" with Meyer, O'Connor,etc .
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terrybeck716
I'm looking for The Silk Road Project, too. A search for "Traditional Chinese" doesn't give you Chinese music at all.
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At the present time, he IS the best.
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this guy has great talent; i love his playing on Master and Commander.
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Why do they talk about him like he's dead?
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Yo-Yo Ma is a very great cello player and I really like all his music.
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I was specifically looking for The Silk Road Project, I couldn't find it, but I guess when you play that sort of stuff on my "radio" I'll give it a thumbs up. Thx
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Yo-Yo Ma is a great cello player, he has vast amounts of skill and is considered the best in the world.
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Please add YoYo Ma plays Ennio Morriconi - it is a fabulous collection of Ennio Morriconi's movie scores!
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Please add Yo Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble
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Two albums I'd love to see on here:
Yo-Yo Ma plays Vivaldi, and Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone... incredible!
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absolutely magnificent
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hendricks.lo g a n
I love the album Appalachian journey I would also like the album Appalachian Waltz to be added
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hawk0107
Please add his album "Appalacian Journey" to your music listening.th a n k you.
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His collaberatio n with Bobby McFerrin is amazing.
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