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Yo-Yo Ma (born October 7, 1955) is a French-born American cellist. Born in Paris, he spent his schooling years in New York City and was a child prodigy, performing from the age of four and a half. He graduated from the Juilliard School and Harvard University and has enjoyed a prolific career as both a soloist performing with orchestras around the world and a recording artist. He has recorded more than 90 albums and received 18 Grammy Awards.
In addition to recordings of the standard classical repertoire, he has recorded a wide variety of folk music such as American bluegrass music, traditional Chinese melodies, the tangos of Argentinian composer Ástor Piazzolla, and Brazilian music. He also collaborated with Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Bobby McFerrin. Ma's primary performance instrument is a Montagnana cello crafted in 1733 valued at US$2.5 million.
He has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2006.
He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2001, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and the Polar Music Prize in 2012.
the Polar Music Prize in 2012.
Early life and studies :
Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris on October 7, 1955, to Chinese parents and had a musical upbringing. His mother, Marina Lu, was a singer and his father, Hiao-Tsiun Ma, was a violinist and professor of music at Nanjing National Central University (predecessor of the present-day Nanjing University). His sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma, played the violin before obtaining a medical degree and becoming a pediatrician. The family moved to New York when Ma was seven years old.
At a young age, Ma began studying violin and piano and later viola, finally settling on the cello in 1960 at age four. According to Ma, his first choice was the double bass due to its large size, but he compromised and took up cello instead. The child prodigy began performing before audiences at age five and performed for Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when he was seven. At age eight, he appeared on American television with his sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma, in a concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein. In 1964, Isaac Stern introduced them on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and they performed the Sonata of Sammartini. He attended Trinity School in New York but transferred to the Professional Children's School, from which he graduated at age 15. He appeared as a soloist with the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra in a performance of the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations.Wide ThumbClearartFanartBanner User Comments