Want some Ma? (Yo-yo that is)

By by dianna wray/dwray@vicad.com
March 29, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated March 29, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.

Yo-yo Ma

Yo-yo Ma

Not many people could get really, really famous for playing the cello, but Yo-yo Ma has made that happen.

If you've never heard of Yo-yo Ma, I have nothing but scorn for you.

OK, so I was kidding about the scorn, but the sounds Ma pulls out of the cello have to be heard to be believed, and you've got the chance to hear them - and him.

Anyways, Ma, an American of Chinese descent, was born in Paris to musician parents - the trained classical kind.

After a period of trial and error with both the violin and viola, Ma found his instrument in the warm-stringed sounds of the cello. He was all of 4 years old, and since then his playing has only gotten better.

While I have met Ma's cousin - he looked just like him - I've never met Ma, though I've always thought he must be kind of like Elmo, someone you simply can't dislike.

He's famous for all kinds of things - he's appeared on everything from "Sesame Street" to "The West Wing" and is one of few people to ever play a duet with Condoleezza Rice. Yeah, seriously.

Now, he plays a 270-year-old cello built by Domenico Montagnana (known as "Petunia").

If his playing doesn't endear him to you, the fact that he's the kind of guy who once left his $2.5 million instrument in a New York City cab has to make him cool. Or at least intriguing.

Ma is on tour with the Silk Road Ensemble, a group he put together to feature musicians from different parts of the world, and they're swinging through Texas.

It's pretty much guaranteed to be a really good show, so get yourself to San Antonio on Thursday or Houston on Friday and check him out. As long as he and Petunia show up, you won't be sorry.



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