Recent News
01.13.19
James Conlon
Dull Bruch from Zuk, blazing Bartók from Conlon and New World at Arsht
South Florida Classical Review
01.11.19
Sir Andrew Davis
With conductor Andrew Davis, the BSO considers the big picture
The Boston Globe
01.10.19
Louis Lortie
PIANIST LOUIS LORTIE JOINS THE ROSTER
01.10.19
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER CELEBRATES GROUNDBREAKING FOUNDER DURING 60TH ANNIVERSARY NORTH AMERICAN TOUR FEBRUARY 1 – MAY 12, 2019
Ailey PressRoom
01.07.19
Teddy Abrams, Inon Barnatan, The Knights
WQXR Presents “19 for 19”: Artists to Watch in the Upcoming Year
WQXR
01.02.19
Ward Stare
Auld acquaintance is not forgotten at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's New Year's Eve concert
KDHX
01.01.19
Marin Alsop, Lawrence Foster, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Mariss Jansons, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Patrick Summers, Emmanuel Villaume, Conrad Tao, Andrew von Oeyen, Inon Barnatan, Daniil Trifonov, Blake Pouliot, Isabelle Faust, Edgar Moreau, Yo-Yo Ma, Alisa Weilerstein, Colin Currie Group , Brooklyn Rider , Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Munich , Lisette Oropesa, Michelle DeYoung, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Christian Van Horn, Storm Large
Best of 2018
12.17.18
Richard Kaufman
Cleveland Orchestra, Choruses make it feel like Christmas at Severance Hall
Cleveland Plain Dealer
12.17.18
Vienna Boys Choir
Vienna Boys Choir mix it up with a cosmopolitan “Christmas in Vienna”
New York Classical Review
12.14.18
Storm Large
High-energy holidays with Storm Large at the Sun
KDHX

News archive »

Yo-Yo Ma on making artistic connections and raising balanced musicians

12.20.17
Yo-Yo Ma
The Strad

This month Yo-Yo Ma returns as artistic director of his Chinese education initiative Youth Music Culture Guangdong, a programme that aims to create balanced, astute and connected musicians. Charlotte Smith explores the ideas behind the cellist’s approach

‘Classical musicians today have moved away from improvisation, but it’s an essential part of owning the music,’ he says. ‘In the classical tradition, pretty much all musicians played, arranged and composed. Clara Schumann composed and Heifetz made arrangements and Kreisler wrote all those little pieces. It’s today’s insistence on professionalisation and specialisation that has separated those skills. It’s the commoditisation of music. We are told to stick with what we do well, as opposed to develop the whole individual. But what’s valuable is the musician who can do all of those things. Of course there will be some skills that stand out, but musicians should continue to feed themselves with all aspects of musical life. It’s an idea that was cherished by the Enlightenment – that we should treasure the person who can be a generalist, the conduit for a world of wonder and awe.’

For Ma, making connections – between people, cultures, artistic modes and genres, and musical skills – is the key to developing into a complete and healthy artist and, crucially, to tapping into the flexibility necessary to negotiate difficult and changing times. ‘That’s why at this year’s YMCG we are focusing on the music of Beethoven,’ he continues. ‘Beethoven was a pivotal personality in a rapidly changing world, both as a culmination of the Classical era and a herald of the Romantic. He was an improviser, a virtuoso pianist and a composer, and shows us that being many things produces the great creativity we need to understand change.’ Just as the young Ma reacted to the huge upheaval of his family’s move to the US with a desire to learn, consume and, ultimately, to express himself creatively, 21st-century musicians can also follow Beethoven’s lead in using instability and unrest as fuel for their own imaginations, and by doing so, making sincere and meaningful connections with audiences and fellow musicians.

To read the full article, download The Strad’s January 2018 issue or use the The Strad App, or buy the print edition.