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Yo-Yo Ma's Biography
French-American cellist, praised for his extraordinary technique and rich tone. Yo-Yo Ma has a discography consisting of close to 50 albums and has more than 13 Grammy Awards to his credit.
Born to Chinese parents living in Paris, Yo-Yo Ma was a child prodigy who began playing the cello at age four and gave his first public recital when he was only five years old. He studied with Janos Scholz, and in 1962, he entered the Juilliard School where he was a student of Leonard Rose. At age nine, he made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in humanities. He won the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize in 1978, and in 1991, his alma mater gave him an honorary doctorate in music.
Early in his career, he made a strong impression on the music world with his performances of Bach as well as with the release of albums such as “Hush” and “Appalachia Waltz,” 1996. Although primarily a classical performer, Yo-Yo Ma continually searches for new ways to communicate with his audiences, and in his quest for stimulating new sounds, he has explored native Chinese music as well as the music of the Kalahari bush people of Africa. In 1998, he released his recordings of Bach’s “Suites for Unaccompanied Cello,” along with six films entitled “Inspired by Bach,” which were done in conjunction with artists from a variety of other disciplines. The collaborations reflected his diverse interests and desire for growth and renewal as an artist. He worked extensively with composer Tan Dun on the original score for the hit film, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” 2001, and his solos are heard in the song, “A Love Before Time.”
One of Yo-Yo Ma’s personal desires is to understand and demonstrate how music serves as a means of communication in different cultures. He has an unlimited interest in the world and is involved in “The Silk Road Project,” an exploration of cross-cultural influences through concerts, festivals and education outreach activities. He works extensively with young musicians through other educational programs as well.
He and his wife Jill have two children, Nicholas and Emily.
Link to Wikipedia biography