Yo-Yo Ma



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 168 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends
    Label: Mormon Tabernacle   Catalog: MTC5137505 Release Date: 05/12/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sting,  David Foster,  Michael W. Smith,  James Taylor  ... 
    Performer:  Sting,  Yo-Yo Ma,  David Foster,  Amy Grant  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Orchestra at Temple Square,  King's Singers
    CD: $14.99
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  • 2.
    Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 534544 Release Date: 05/12/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod,  John Corigliano
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Ton Koopman,  Kenneth Cooper,  Bobby McFerrin
    Conductor:  Ton Koopman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Bach Trios / Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 558933 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Chris Thile,  Edgar Meyer
    CD: $26.99
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  • 4.
    New York Philharmonic: 175th Anniversary Edition
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 533636 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 65
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ambroise Thomas  ... 
    Performer:  Oscar Levant,  Robert Casadesus,  Isaac Stern,  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Willem Mengelberg,  Josef Stransky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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    CD: $184.99
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  • 5.
    Golijov: Azul / Yo-Yo Ma, Jacobsen, The Knights
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 559989 Release Date: 03/31/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Colin Jacobsen,  Antonín Dvorák,  Osvaldo Golijov,  Karlheinz Stockhausen  ... 
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Michael Ward-Bergeman,  Jamey Haddad,  Cyro Baptista
    Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Knights
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 6.
    Leonard Bernstein: The Composer
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 534531 Release Date: 03/31/2017   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein,  Christopher Dedrick
    Performer:  Zino Francescatti,  Benny Goodman,  Jennie Tourel,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Ben Steinberg,  Lehman Engel,  Samuel Krachmalnick  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Columbia Jazz Band,  Norman Scribner Choir  ... 
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    CD: $113.49
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  • 7.
    Strauss: Don Quixote - Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 / Yo-Yo Ma, Jansons
    Label: Belvedere (Dvd)   Catalog: 8023 Release Date: 02/17/2017  
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 8.
    Strauss: Don Quixote - Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 / Yo-Yo Ma, Jansons [Blu-ray]
    Label: Belvedere   Catalog: 8024 Release Date: 02/17/2017  
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $29.99
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  • 9.
    Beethoven Barenboim
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 558505 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim,  Pinchas Zukerman,  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Itzhak Perlman  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin State Opera Chorus  ... 
    CD: $77.49
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  • 10.
    Classic Archive - Brahms: The Complete Chamber Music
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 26401 Release Date: 11/18/2016  
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Elena Bashkirova,  Maxim Vengerov,  Boris Pergamenschikow,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna String Sextet,  Takács String Quartet,  Berlin Soloists  ... 
    Blu-ray Video: $85.99
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  • 11.
    Philip Glass: The Complete Sony Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 533761 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Philip Glass
    Performer:  Michael Riesman,  Jack Kripl,  Paul Zukofsky,  Sheryl Woods  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Riesman,  Christopher Keene,  Dennis Russell Davies,  Robert Shaw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philip Glass Ensemble,  New York City Opera Orchestra,  New York City Opera Chorus  ... 
    On sale!
    CD: $115.49
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  • 12.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall (Selected Highlights)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 530420 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Paul de Schlözer,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Turini,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jorge Bolet,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Arturo Toscanini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
    CD: $11.99
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  • 13.
    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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    CD: $28.49
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  • 14.
    Sing Me Home / Yo-Yo 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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  • 15.
    Bach: Unaccompanied Cello Suites / Yo-Yo Ma [Vinyl]
    Label: Sony Music Entertainment   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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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    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:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    CD: $15.99
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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  ... 
    CD: $274.99
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  • 20.
    Saint-Saens, Lalo: Cello Concertos; Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations / Yo-Yo Ma
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88697714332 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Edouard Lalo,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $6.99
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  • 21.
    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
    CD: $14.99
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  • 22.
    Saint-Saens: Organ Symphony; Danse Macabre; Le Carnaval des Animaux / Ormandy
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88883769482 Release Date: 08/28/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
    Performer:  E. Power Biggs,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Alain Marion,  Philippe Entremont  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    CD: $6.99
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  • 23.
    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
    On sale!
    CD: $21.49
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  • 24.
    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:  Joyce DiDonato,  Kenneth Merrill,  Noah [Tenor Vocal] Stewart,  Nicole Cabell  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 25.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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