Yo-Yo Ma | The Omnivorous Cellist


Classical Academy | Performers Guide to the Orchestra 

 

How do you get a nickname like omnivorous? The answer - with an ecclectic, breathtakingly broad repertoire like cellist Yo-Yo Ma. With incredible versatility, Yo-Yo Ma succeeds in interpreting Baroque pieces on period instruments, American bluegrass music, traditional Chinese melodies (including the soundtrack to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), the tangos of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzola, as well as classical modernism in the form of Philip Glass.

 

The smooth, rich tone Ma produces is a fine as his technique, which allows him to perform the most demanding of works, including renowned virtuoso of the 1800s Niccolò Paganini's 24th Caprice for solo violin. As a child prodigy, he performed for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower. He currently plays with the Silk Road Ensemble, which aims to bring together musicians from diverse countries all of which are historically connected along the Silk Road.

 

 

 

His cello, nicknamed Petunia at the request of a female student who asked to play it, is more than 270 years old and valued at $2.5 million. In one of the craziest musical events of all time, Yo-Yo Ma lost it in the back of a cab in New York City in 1999, only to recover it undamaged - now that is luck!

 

Enjoy this playlist of recordings by Yo-Yo Ma, revealing just why he so deserves that nickname 'omnivorous'.