Yo-Yo Ma

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Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his continual search […]
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Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music or exploring cultures and musical forms outside the Western classical tradition, Mr. Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination.

One of Mr. Ma’s goals is the exploration of music as a means of communication and as a vehicle for the migrations of ideas across a range of cultures throughout the world. Expanding upon this interest, in 1998, Mr. Ma established Silkroad, a nonprofit organization that seeks to create meaningful change at the intersections of the arts, education, and business.  Under his artistic direction, Silkroad presents performances by the acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble and develops new music, cultural partnerships, education programs, and cross-disciplinary collaborations. More than 80 new musical and multimedia works have been commissioned for the Silk Road Ensemble from composers and arrangers around the world. Silkroad’s ongoing affiliation with Harvard University has made it possible to develop programs such as the Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute for educators and teaching artists, held in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a new Cultural Entrepreneurship initiative in partnership with Harvard Business School.

As the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, Mr. Ma is partnering with Maestro Riccardo Muti to provide collaborative musical leadership and guidance on innovative program development for The Negaunee Music Institute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and for Chicago Symphony artistic initiatives. Mr. Ma’s work focuses on the transformative power music can have in individuals’ lives, and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities.  In March 2016, he was appointed Artistic Advisor at Large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of their expansive initiatives honoring the centenary of JFK’s birth and to encourage the idea of creative citizenship.

Mr. Ma is also widely recognized for his strong commitment to educational programs that bring the world into the classroom and the classroom into the world. While touring, he takes time whenever possible to conduct master classes as well as more informal programs for students – musicians and non-musicians alike. He has also reached young audiences through appearances on “Arthur,” “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street.”

Mr. Ma’s discography of over 100 albums (including 18 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests.  He has made several successful recordings that defy categorization, among them “Appalachia Waltz” and “Appalachian Journey” with Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer, and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, “Obrigado Brazil” and “Obrigado Brazil – Live in Concert.” Mr. Ma’s recent recordings include: “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan, which received the 2013 Grammy for Best Folk Album, and “Songs from the Arc of Life,” with pianist Kathryn Stott.  His most recent release, “Sing Me Home,” recorded with the Silk Road Ensemble, was released in April 2016 as the companion album to documentary film The Music of Strangers.  Created by Oscar-winning producer Morgan Neville, the film follows the Ensemble’s more than 50 musicians, composers, visual artists and storytellers as they explore the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution.  Mr. Ma remains one of the best-selling recording artists in the classical field.  All of his recent albums have quickly entered the Billboard chart of classical best sellers, remaining in the Top 15 for extended periods, often with as many as four titles simultaneously on the list.

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years. Later, his principal teacher was Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School. He has received numerous awards, among them the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the National Medal of Arts (2001), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010).  In 2011, Mr. Ma was recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree. He is currently serving as a UN Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities.  Most recently, Mr. Ma has joined the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees.   He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.

Mr. Ma and his wife have two children. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.

For additional information, see: www.yo-yoma.com, www.silkroadproject.org, and www.opus3artists.com

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Press Release

LONGTIME FRIENDS, CELLIST YO-YO MA & PIANIST KATHRYN STOTT COLLABORATE ON NEW ALBUM SONGS FROM THE ARC OF LIFE

  LONGTIME FRIENDS, CELLIST YO-YO MA & PIANIST KATHRYN STOTT COLLABORATE ON NEW ALBUM SONGS FROM THE ARC OF LIFE Available September 18, 2015 on Sony Classical Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. […]
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LONGTIME FRIENDS, CELLIST YO-YO MA & PIANIST KATHRYN STOTT COLLABORATE ON NEW ALBUM

SONGS FROM THE ARC OF LIFE

Available September 18, 2015 on Sony Classical

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. This all-new recording also celebrates thirty years of friendship and collaboration in concerts and recordings for Ma and Stott. The album includes pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries.

“I like to think of Songs from the Arc of Life as an invitation to our audience to remember and imagine what the soundtracks of their lives might be,” Yo-Yo Ma says.  “Kathy and I have talked for years about recording an album of music we absolutely love, pieces that express the context of a life, of our lives.  Childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, old age: what do they sound like?”

“I love this title,” Stott says, “the ‘Arc of Life’ – because it is one big arc. Once we arrived at the idea, we began to see a beautiful story, a journey through life’s experiences. It has taken us a long time and much discussion, back and forth, to discover what that journey might be, because everyone’s journey is slightly different.”

Songs from the Arc of Life begins and ends with two, much-beloved settings of the traditional “Ave Maria,” opening with the soaring, radiant Bach/Gounod arrangement and closing with Schubert’s more serene, contemplative version.

In between is a remarkable spectrum of music that includes such enduring favorites as Brahms’ “Lullaby,” Dvořák’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” Elgar’s “Salut d’amour,” Gade’s “Jalousie” and Saint-Saëns’ “The Swan,” as well as richly evocative works by Debussy, Delius, Fauré, Gershwin, Grieg, Kriesler, Messaien, Schumann, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. Ma and Stott also include a haunting piece by the contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima, a friend and colleague of both artists.

In addition to beginning his fourth decade of collaboration with Stott, Yo-Yo Ma is celebrating a milestone birthday this year.  “Turning sixty has me wondering what the future might bring, but also reflecting on what has passed,” Ma says. “Kathy and I have known one another since we were in our twenties. We have a shared performing history and thousands of conversations and experiences and we’re delighted, through Songs from the Arc of Life, to share them with you.”

Sony Music Masterworks comprises Masterworks, Sony Classical, OKeh, Portrait, Masterworks Broadway and Flying Buddha imprints. For email updates and information please visit www.sonymusicmasterworks.com.

 

TRACK LIST

  1. Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria
  2. Brahms:Lullaby
  3. Dvořák: Songs My Mother Taught Me
  4. Fauré: Papillon
  5. Gade: Tango Jalousie
  6. Schumann: I. Vanitas vanitatum (from Five Pieces in the Popular Style)
  7. Sibelius: Was It a Dream?
  8. Fauré: Après un rêve
  9. Elgar: Salut d’amour
  10. Gershwin: Prelude No. 1
  11. Delius: Romance for Cello and Piano
  12. Kreisler: La Gitana
  13. Sollima: Il bell’Antonio, Tema III
  14. Saint-Saëns: The Swan (from Carnival of the Animals)
  15. Grieg: The Wounded Heart (from Elegiac Melodies)
  16. Tchaikovsky: Valse sentimentale, Op. 51, No. 6
  17. Messiaen: Louange à l’éternité de Jésus (from Quartet for the End of Time)
  18. Debussy: Beau Soir
  19. Schubert: Ave Maria

 

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Kathryn Stott, piano

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