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Yo-Yo Ma Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (2)

Born in Paris, France
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Yo-Yo Ma was born on October 7, 1955 in Paris, France. He has been married to Jill Alison Hornor since May 20, 1978. They have two children.

Spouse (1)

Jill Alison Hornor (20 May 1978 - present) ( 2 children)

Trivia (11)

Cellist.
Named People Magazine's Sexiest Classical Musician 2001.
Daughter, Emily, born 1985.
Son, Nicholas Ma, born 1983.
Enrolled at Juilliard at age 9.
Attended Harvard University from 1972-1976
He was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 2001 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
Began playing cello at the age of four.
Recipient of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, along with Barbara Cook, Neil Diamond, Sonny Rollins, and Meryl Streep.
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. [February 2011]
Member of The Committee of 100 since 1989, an organization of Chinese Americans that aims to serve as a bridge between China and the United States. Other members include Joan Chen, Teddy Zee and Lucy Liu.

Personal Quotes (5)

I think of a piece of music as something that comes alive when it is being performed, and I feel that my role in the transmission of music is to be its best advocate at that moment.
Grow old gracefully by maintaining your curiosity.
I'd like to think that the the four strings on the cello are attached to my vocal chords. So whatever you think should be reflected in the sound, in the musculature of how you pull the bow and how it comes out, there should be no impediment between the thought and the sound. That's something that people strive for, but never want to hear 'So-and-so's a great instrumentalist'. What you want to hear is, 'Oh, that makes me think'.
Whenever I've had a dull moment in performing, it becomes absolutely, exquisitely painful. When it's good you know, no matter how difficult the music is, time just flies by. When it's not, time becomes excruciatingly slow - you're Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the hill that never ends. People might still say,'That was a good performance', but you feel absolutely horrible because you weren't connecting with what the music is about. When I do connect, then I have the easiest job in the world.
[on being considered a trail-blazer in world music] I basically think that if you open yourself up to a lot of things, history kind of makes you step back from what you are doing. You just feel, 'Let's make something happen!'. It's a very slight change in attitude, but it does have ramifications in terms of what comes out. Essentially, you face an audience, you face your colleagues, and you say 'This is all we have, let's do something with it. There are many different reasons why people are in this room. Let's do something worthwhile and make it count. There are so many people in the world, so many different forms of expression. So who are we? What we do? Let's make this as precious as we can'. Maybe getting older has something to do with this attitude. Being aware of a much larger world, you're aware of the scale and the total inconsequence of your own being. But what you can say is: any single voice does matter. Any individual action is in fact a human voice that is there to witness the world. That, in itself, is worthwhile. You have to keep both things in your head at once - the biggest possible picture and the most minute one - the 'right now'. Then you have access to both objective and subjective narratives, you have perspective, so you don't get lost.

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