Yo Yo Ma
Silk Road Project
Image license: CC BY 2.0
Yo-Yo Ma (born October 7, 1955) is a Chinese-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 performed as a soloist with orchestras around the world. He has recorded more than 90 albums and received 19 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 has collaborated with artists including jazz singer Bobby McFerrin, guitarist Carlos Santana, Sérgio Assad and his brother, Odair, and singer-songwriter and guitarist James Taylor. Ma’s primary performance instrument is a Montagnana cello crafted in 1733 and 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 Polar Music Prize in 2012.