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The cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who was born in 1955 to Chinese parents in Paris, began learning cello at the age of four from his father. In 1962 the family moved to New York, where he continued his training first with János Scholz and from 1964 to 1971 with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1976 he graduated from Harvard University. When he was only eight Yo-Yo Ma appeared as a soloist in a televised concert under the direction of Leonard Bernstein; his international career, which has taken him to the most celebrated orchestras around the world, began at the end of the 1970s. Along with performing the major cello concertos, he is keenly devoted to chamber music. Yo-Yo Ma’s discography comprises more than 90 CDs covering a repertoire that ranges from the solo sonatas of Bach through Beethoven and Brahms to tango and film music. His recordings have received no fewer than 18 Grammy Awards. In 1998 Yo-Yo Ma founded the Silk Road Project, whose mission is to explore the music and cultural legacy of the countries found along the historical Silk Road. Ever since then he has been concertizing with his Silk Road Ensemble on every continent. In the 2014-15 season they undertook tours of Europe, Asia, and the United States. In addition he has performed classical repertoire with such ensembles as the New York Philharmonic and the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. In 2006 Yo-Yo Ma was named a United Nations peace ambassador. For the inauguration of the American President Barack Obama in 2009, he performed at the White House. In 2011 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and, in 2012, the Polar Music Prize. Yo-Yo Ma plays a Montagnana cello from 1733 and the Davidoff Stradivarius from 1712.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 31 August 1978 with the Berlin Philharmonic and Herbert von Karajan, performing in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.