Ma received the Avery Fisher Prize in 1978, and his breakout album was 1983’s Bach: The Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites. Many composers, including William Bolcom, Tod Machover, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, and Bright Sheng, have written pieces for him. Ma worked with Tan Dun on his Symphony 1997 and the score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and with John Williams on the scores for Seven Years in Tibet and Memoirs of a Geisha. During the 1980s, many of Ma’s recordings were traditional repertoire with pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Isaac Stern. In the mid-’90s, he returned to the Bach Suites, recording them for six short films in collaboration with director Atom Egoyan, ice dancers Torvill & Dean, dancer Mark Morris, and other artists. He also began exploring other types of music: improvising alongside Bobby McFerrin on Hush (1992), then bluegrass with Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor on Appalachia Waltz (1996). In 1998, Ma founded the Silk Road Ensemble to explore the music of cultures found along the early trade route. His popular releases include 2003’s Obrigado Brazil; 2004’s Vivaldi’s Cello; and 2011’s Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan.
In 2001 he was awarded the American National Medal by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2006 he was named one of the United Nations’ Peace Ambassadors. He has served on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and worked with outreach programs with the Chicago Symphony and, with the Silk Road Ensemble, the New York public schools. Ma has appeared on television’s Sesame Street, The Simpsons, and The Colbert Report and at events such as the 2002 Olympic Games opening ceremonies, Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, and a service honoring Boston Marathon bombing victims.
Sourced by MTV
Book Yo-Yo Ma Here: