Musician Yo-Yo Ma

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on January 5, 2003

We have been reading about cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Project. Could you please enlighten us about this talented man, his personal life, and career?
—Marsha S., New Mexico

The 47-year-old Ma was born in Paris and began studying cello with his father at the tender age of 4. Ma played both the cello and the piano at his first public concert at the University of Paris when he was 5. His father was a violinist and a professor at Nanjing University in China before moving to Paris. His mother was a singer and former student of his father. When Ma was 6 years old, famed violinist Isaac Stern heard about his incredible talent and guided the child prodigy, helping the family when they moved to New York, where Ma studied under some of the most respected musical teachers. Later, Ma attended Harvard University. He has won 14 Grammy Awards. His Silk Road Project came out of his interest in how music, art, and culture traveled along the Silk Road, a vast network of trade routes that went from China into Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Through concerts, festivals, and educational programs, the Silk Road Project delves into the cultural history of the route, supports collaboration between artists in the East and West, and re-examines the roots of classical music. Ma and his wife have two children.