Yo-Yo Ma

Composers

Biography

Born: October 7, 1955; France  
Yo-Yo Ma is among the finest cellists of his generation, and a musician of unusually broad appeal. His great success is no doubt due to an easygoing, friendly stage personality in addition to his fine, adventurous musicianship.

Indeed, Ma appears to have music in his blood: his mother was a singer in Hong Kong, his father a conductor, composer, and teacher. Although he had his first cello lessons at age four, memorizing two bars of
Read more Bach's cello suites every day, he had initially studied the violin, then the viola. When he was seven, the family moved to New York so that Ma could study with Janos Scholz. At the age of eight, Ma appeared on American television on "The American Pageant of the Arts," in a concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein. He joined the junior department of the Juilliard School as a pupil of Leonard Rose. However, he left Juilliard in 1971, questioning whether he would continue with his cello studies despite international recognition while still in his teens.

Ma eventually enrolled at Harvard, where teachers, including composers Leon Kirchner and Earl Kim, gave him confidence to continue. The most important turning point, though, was a trip to the Marlboro Festival, where he heard the great cellist Pablo Casals perform. Says Ma, "The commitment behind each note, the belief he had, was a wonderful example."

In 1978 Ma won the Avery Fisher Prize, establishing himself as one of a very few genuine superstars in classical music. Since then, he has appeared with nearly all of the world's great orchestras and conductors. He also is active in chamber music, often in a piano trio with Young Uck Kim and Emanuel Ax; Ma and Ax won a Grammy award for their recording of the Brahms cello sonatas. In 1982 Ma was invited to appear in the inaugural concert of the London Symphony Orchestra's new concert hall at the Barbican Centre in London, where he played in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II. He has won numerous Grammy awards, recording such diverse music as Brazilian bossa nova, Argentine tango, American roots and bluegrass, and the soundtrack for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In 1998 he founded the Silk Road Project, to explore the exchange of musical ideas that occurred along the trade route. His CDs of the early 2000s have touched on both traditional and crossover repertory, with two albums of Vivaldi's music recorded with keyboardist and conductor Ton Koopman emerging as successful examples of the former, and the Obrigado Brazil CD becoming another crossover best seller.

Playing a Montagnana cello and the "Davidov" Stradivari previously used by Jacqueline du Pré, Ma produces a relatively lean and focused, though warm, tone, with a tight, fast vibrato. His performances are a unique blend of rhapsodic and seemingly spontaneous music-making; at the same time, his playing is tempered by intellectually rigorous analysis and forethought. He places great importance on not repeating performances from the past, either those of other artists or his own. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 157 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Art of Itzhak Perlman
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 518338 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Itzhak Perlman,  John Williams,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Juilliard String Quartet
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  • 2.
    Sing Me Home / Ma, Silk Road Ensemble
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 518101 Release Date: 04/22/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Man Wu,  Traditional,  Ustad Vilayat Khan,  Kinan Azmeh  ... 
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Martin Hayes,  Sarah Jarosz,  Balla Kouyate  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Roomful of Teeth,  Black Sea Hotel
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Bach: Unaccompanied Cello Suites / Yo-Yo Ma [Vinyl]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875132611 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    LP: $34.99
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  • 4.
    Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone [Vinyl]
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875132631 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ennio Morricone
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Ennio Morricone
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Beethoven: Triple Concerto; Choral Fantasy
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552420 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Yo-Yo Ma,  René Pape  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    CD: $11.99
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  • 6.
    Brahms: Double Concerto; Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, Prokofiev: Violin Concertos
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552421 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    CD: $14.99
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  • 7.
    Yo-Yo Ma: The Classical Cello Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 513074 Release Date: 10/02/2015   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Luigi Boccherini,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Ton Koopman,  Emanuel Ax,  Edgar Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman,  Claudio Abbado,  Kurt Masur,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  ORTF National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $47.99
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  • 8.
    Itzhak Perlman: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 552439 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 77
    Composer:  Niccolň Paganini,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Ray Still,  Samuel Sanders  ... 
    Conductor:  Lawrence Foster,  Daniel Barenboim,  Itzhak Perlman,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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    CD: $287.49
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  • 9.
    Songs from the Arc of Life / Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 510316 Release Date: 09/18/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Johannes Brahms,  Gabriel Fauré,  Jacob Gade  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott,  Yo-Yo Ma
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  • 10.
    Orchestre National de France: 80 ans de Concerts Inedits
    Label: Radio France   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Edouard Lalo,  Albert Roussel,  Francis Poulenc  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre [Baritone Vocals] Bernac,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Irma Kolassi,  Victoria de los Angeles  ... 
    Conductor:  Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht,  Paul Paray,  Charles Munch,  Roger Desormičre  ... 
    CD: $70.99
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  • 11.
    Isaac Stern plays Brahms
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88843061362 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Rose,  Eugene Istomin,  Yo-Yo Ma  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Eugene Ormandy,  Milton Katims
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 12.
    An Aids Quilt Songbook: Sing For Hope
    Label: Gpr Records   Catalog: 12014 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Kevin Oldham,  Robert Chesley,  Ricky I. Gordon,  Fred Hersch  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Merrill,  Joyce DiDonato,  Noah [Tenor Vocal] Stewart,  Ricky Ian Gordon  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 13.
    Marlboro Festival 40th Anniversary - Mozart: Serenade K 361 / Ma, Heller, Moyse
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 55637 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Alexander Heller
    Conductor:  Marcel Moyse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Marlboro Festival Orchestra members
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  • 14.
    Mozart: The Piano Quartets / Ax, Stern, Ma, Laredo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56121 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Emanuel Ax,  Jaime Laredo,  Yo-Yo Ma
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  • 15.
    Shostakovich: String Quartet No 15; Gubaidulina: Rejoice / Kremer, Phillips, Ma, Kashkashian
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 55634 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sofia Gubaidulina
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Gidon Kremer,  Kim Kashkashian,  Daniel Phillips
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  • 16.
    Tavener: The Protecting Veil, Wake Up...and Die / Yo-Yo Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56130 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra members
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  • 17.
    Yo-Yo Ma Plays Great Cello Masterworks
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 438572 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Edouard Lalo,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Margaret Faultless,  Emanuel Ax
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  André Previn,  José L. Garcia,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 18.
    Claudio Abbado: The Complete RCA & Sony Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 304505 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Abbado,  Murray Perahia,  Anatoly Kotcherga,  Midori  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
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    CD: $95.99
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  • 19.
    Beethoven: Cello Sonata no 4, Variations / Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 55358 Release Date: 07/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Emanuel Ax
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 20.
    Dvorak: Piano Trios Opp 65 & 90 / Ax, Kim, Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 55374 Release Date: 07/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Kim Young Uck,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Emanuel Ax
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  • 21.
    Goldenthal: Fire Water Paper - A Vietnam Oratorio / Ma, Panagulias, St. Clair
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56114 Release Date: 07/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Elliot Goldenthal
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Ana Panagulias,  James Maddalena
    Conductor:  Carl St. Clair
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacific Symphony Orchestra,  Pacific Chorale,  Pacific Chorale Children's Choir  ... 
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  • 22.
    Schubert: Piano Trio No 1; Brahms: String Sextet No 2; Bach / Isaac Stern
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56158 Release Date: 07/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Leonard Rose,  Isaac Stern,  Eugene Istomin,  Lin Cho-Liang  ... 
    Conductor:  Isaac Stern
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Franz Liszt Academy Chamber Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Shostakovich: Trio Op 67, Cello Sonata / Ax, Stern, Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 55628 Release Date: 07/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Emanuel Ax,  Isaac Stern,  Yo-Yo Ma
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  • 24.
    Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2, Cello Sonata / Ax, Ma, Haitink
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56137 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Emanuel Ax,  Jules Eskin,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Chopin: Introduction & Polonaise, Cello Sonata, Trio / Ma, Frank, Ax
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 56099 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin
    Performer:  Pamela Frank,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Emanuel Ax,  Ewa Osinska
    ArkivCD $16.99
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