2013 Artists in Residence
2013 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence
The Arts Program has been privileged to enjoy an ongoing and collaborative relationship with world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He and Arts Program director Damian Woetzel sat together on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, where they pioneered the ArtStrike. Ma took part in the US-China Forum on Arts and Culture, was a featured speaker at Aspen Ideas Festival, and has taken part in arts-education and civic initiatives with the Arts Program in New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington, DC.
Yo-Yo Ma performs as a soloist, with orchestras throughout the world, and in recitals and chamber music activities. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Emanuel Ax, Kayhan Kalhor, Ton Koopman, Cristina Pato, Kathryn Stott, Chris Thile, Wu Tong, and Damian Woetzel.
In 1998, Mr. Ma established Silkroad, a nonprofit organization that seeks to create meaningful change at the intersections of the arts, education and business. Under his artistic direction, Silkroad presents performances by the acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble and develops new music, cultural partnerships, education programs, and cross-disciplinary collaborations. Silkroad’s ongoing affiliation with Harvard University has resulted in programs such as the Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute for educators and teaching artists and a Cultural Entrepreneurship initiative. The documentary film The Music of Strangers, created by Oscar-winning producer Morgan Neville, follows the Ensemble’s more than 50 musicians, composers, visual artists and storytellers as they explore the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution.
As the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, Mr. Ma has provided collaborative musical leadership and guidance on innovative program development for The Negaunee Music Institute of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and for Chicago Symphony artistic initiatives. Ma’s work focuses on the transformative power music can have in individuals’ lives and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities. In March 2016, he was appointed Artistic Advisor at Large to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of their expansive initiatives honoring the centenary of JFK’s birth and to encourage the idea of creative citizenship.
Yo-Yo Ma is strongly committed to education. While touring, he takes time whenever possible to conduct master classes as well as more informal programs for students – musicians and non-musicians alike. At the same time, he continues to develop new concert programs for family audiences, for instance helping to inaugurate the family series at Carnegie Hall. In each of these undertakings, he works to connect music to students’ daily surroundings and activities with the goal of making music and creativity a vital part of children’s lives from an early age.
Mr. Ma’s discography of over 100 albums (including 18 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. He has made several successful recordings that defy categorization, among them “Appalachia Waltz” and “Appalachian Journey” with Mark O’Connor and Edgar Meyer, and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, “Obrigado Brazil” and “Obrigado Brazil – Live in Concert.” “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan, received the 2013 Grammy for Best Folk Album. Mr. Ma remains one of the best-selling recording artists in the classical field.
Yo-Yo Ma’s awards include the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Leonie Sonning Music Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), the Polar Music Prize (2012) and the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013). In 2011, Mr. Ma was recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree. Appointed a CultureConnect Ambassador by the United States Department of State in 2002, Mr. Ma has met with, trained and mentored thousands of students worldwide in countries including Lithuania, Korea, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and China. He serves as a UN Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities. He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.