Born in Paris, France on October 7, 1955, both his parents are Chinese. He studied the cello with his father when he was 4. Ma had his first public recital when he was 5. He performed at Carnegie Hall at age 9. He attended Juilliard School under the tutelage of János Scholz and Leonard Rose. Ma graduated from Harvard University in 1977 with a humanities degree.
Rise to Fame
Yo-Yo Ma is known for his collaborations with other artists belonging to various genres. Some of the musicians he performed with are Young-Uck Kim (violin), Emanuel Ax (piano), Isaac Stern (violin) and Jaime Laredo (violin). Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma recorded the sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven in 1985 and works by Johannes Brahms in 1991. He also recorded the suites of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1983 and 1998.
Notable Collaborations, Awards and Performances
- In 1978, received the Avery Fisher Prize.
- In 1991, received an honorary doctorate in music from Harvard.
- In 1992, worked with singer Bobby McFerrin on Hush.
- In 1996, he recorded Appalachia Waltz, recorded with bluegrass musicians.
- In 1997, he recorded the tangos of Astor Piazzolla on Soul of the Tango
- In 1998, he founded the Silk Road Project and later on started the Silk Road Ensemble, with their first recordings released in 2001 (Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet}.
- He also did a recording for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. That same year he recorded Appalachian Journey
- He collaborated with Latin American artists on Obrigado Brazil in 2003.
- Also in 2003, Paris - La Belle Epoque was released featuring French music for cello.
- In 2004, Ma's album Vivaldi's Cello was released.
Yo-Yo Ma continues to enchant the world with his music and his firm desire to communicate with his listeners through his music. His many collaborations, tours and performances continue to earn him praise and acclaim. He has recorded over 50 albums and have received numerous awards including the Grammy's.