Yo-Yo Ma (born October 7, 1955) is a Chinese American cellist. Born in Paris, he spent his schooling years in New York City and was a child prodigy, performing from the age of five. He graduated from the Juilliard School and Harvard University and has enjoyed a prolific career as both a soloist performing with orchestras around the world and a recording artist. His 90+ albums have received 18 Grammy Awards.
In addition to recordings of the standard classical repertoire, he has recorded a wide variety of folk music such as American bluegrass music, traditional Chinese melodies, the tangos of Argentinian composer Ástor Piazzolla, and Brazilian music. He also collaborated with Grammy Award-winning jazz/reggae singer Bobby McFerrin. During the Dixie Chicks’ controversial tour of 2005-6, Ma backed them playing cello as sideman, assisting in the string arrangements for the band.
Ma’s primary performance instrument is a Montagnana cello built in 1733 valued at US$2.5 million.
He has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2006.
He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2001, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and the Polar Music Prize in 2012.