Yo-Yo Ma

Cellist

Born: 7 October 1955
Birthplace: Paris, France
Best known as:

The Grammy-winning Franco-Chinese celebrity cellist

Yo-Yo Ma is considered the world's greatest living cello player, and a musician whose celebrity tends to transcend the world of classical music. Born in Paris, Ma (of Chinese descent) was a child prodigy on the cello and performed his first public concert, at the University of Paris, at age 5. His family moved to New York and he took up serious studies there in the 1960s. He graduated from Harvard University in 1976 and by then was already an internationally acclaimed cellist. Yo-Yo Ma has won more than a dozen Grammy awards and is known especially for his interpretations of Bach and Beethoven, and for his ability to play many different styles of music, including tango and bluegrass. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Extra credit:

"Mr. Ma plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius," according to his official site... He married Jill Hornor, a professor of German language, in 1977. They have two children, David (born c. 1983) and Emily (born c. 1985)... In 2001, Yo-Yo Ma was dubbed "Sexiest Classical Musician" by People magazine... In 2002 he played a concert in Washington, D.C. with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who is a pianist.

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