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Artist Of The Week: Yo-Yo Ma

Monday, July 10, 2017 | Permalink
Todd Rosenberg / Sony Classical

Todd Rosenberg / Sony Classical

If you're a fan of classical music, chances are you're well aware of Yo-Yo Ma. Even if you're just a casual listener, there's a good possibility you've heard of this world famous cellist.  That's because more than any other classical musician of his generation, Yo-Yo Ma has made himself known to and become embraced by a much broader audience than just classical music lovers.



The French born Ma was destined to become a legend from the moment he made his U.S. debut at the age of seven in 1962. Introduced by the world’s preeminent conductor of the day, Leonard Bernstein, Ma played cello with his older sister Yeou-Cheng at the piano, for President John F. Kennedy. The event was the American Pageant for the Arts. Be sure to read the description of the event to find out who else was in attendance that night. Ma was in some pretty good company.



Since that day in 1962, Ma has transcended the classical music genre by making appearances on popular TV shows like Sesame Street and The Late Show with David Letterman.



He’s performed with musicians from genres ouside of classical music like Chris Thile and Bobby McFerrin.  In 1998, Ma sought to advance global understanding through the arts by creating the Silk Road Ensemble.




With his impeccable artistry, diverse musical interests, and deep imprint on music and society, Yo-Yo Ma was a natural choice to inaugurate our new Artist of the Week series. In addition to the musical selections we'll be playing we also have some audio excerpts featuring Ma in his own works.  

Here are the pieces featuring Yo-Yo Ma that you can hear during morning classical (6-10 a.m.) this week:



Ennio Morricone, “Gabriels Oboe” from The Mission

Johann Sebastian Bach, "The Sheep May Safely Graze"


Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude and Fugue from The Wedge

Heitor Villa-Lobos, Choros No. 5 “Brazilian Soul”


Mark O'Connor, "Butterflies Day Out"

Johann Christian Bach, Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello and Orchestra


Fritz Kreisler, "La Gitana"

Jacob Gade, "Jealousy Tango"


Tan Dun, "The Eternal Vow" from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Jules Massanet, "Meditation" from Thais





All Things Considered's Robert Siegel interviews Yo-Yo Ma

A Musician's Guide to the Pre-Concert Warm-Up

And this one from Minnesota Public Radio:

New Classical Tracks Uncut: Yo-Yo Ma and Johnny Gandelsman 

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