Yo-Yo Ma biography
Born on October 7, 1955, in Paris, France, Yo-Yo Ma is a cellist and songwriter of Chinese descent. The child prodigy attended the Juilliard School and continued to excel throughout his adult life, producing more than 75 albums and winning more than 15 Grammy Awards. The acclaimed musician also served as artistic director of the Silk Road Project, an organization dedicated to promoting the study of the cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route. In 2001, Ma was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2011, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Born on October 7, 1955, in Paris, France, Yo-Yo Ma is a a classically trained cellist and songwriter of Chinese descent who was brought up playing pieces created by the great masters. From a young age, Ma was already one of the most famous classical musicians in the world. The child prodigy went on to attend the Juilliard School in New York City, and would continue to excel throughout his adult life, becoming one of the most famous musicians on the planet.
Experimentation and innovation have become the hallmarks of Yo-Yo Ma's career. His relentless pursuit of new challenges has brought classical music to a much larger audience than ever before. While the results may be open to question, his passion is not.
Over his decades-long career, Ma has produced more than 75 albums. Among his earlier albums are Great Cello Concertos (1989), Brahms: Sonatas for Cello & Piano (1992), Made in America (1993) and Soul of the Tango: The Music of Astor Piazzolla (1997). Later projects include Simply Baroque II — Bach & Boccherini (2000), Classic Yo-Yo (2001), Obrigado Brazil (2003) and The Goat Rodeo Sessions (2011). A testament to his musical talent and creativity, Ma has won more than 15 Grammy Awards.
Other Projects and Honors
In 1998, Ma founded the Silk Road Project to promote the study of the cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route. The organization's vision, according to its website, "is to connect the world's neighborhoods by bringing together artists and audiences around the globe." Since founding the Silk Road Project, Ma has served as its artistic director.
In 2000, Ma was given the opportunity to expand his audience beyond his wildest dreams: Film director Ang Lee asked him to play on the sound track for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which went on to become an astounding success, winning four Academy Awards in 2011—for best foreign-language film, art direction, cinematography and, most importantly for Ma, best original score.
Despite how some movies may represent it, classical music has also always been known as a source of solace during times of tragedy, and when the United States needed it most, Yo-Yo Ma delivered. A year after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the nation, Ma was asked to play at the ceremonies marking the first anniversary of the tragic event.
In 2001, Ma was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2011, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Today, Yo-Yo Ma is in demand as never before. His classical recitals and experimental performances sell out regularly, and his willingness to charge ahead into the unknown and take chances has opened a door for a new generation of musicians.