The Violin Version of Yo-Yo Ma

February 9, 2004 at 07:44 PM · I am very curious, which violinist would you compare Yo-Yo Ma to (Heifetz, Perlman, etc.?) based on his technique, musicality, etc.?

And just a general question on the cello, how does one travel on air with it? I've been thinking lately that people with intense touring/concertizing schedules like Yo-Yo Ma wouldn't be very happy when his x million dollars Stradivirius is in the cargo, somehow I have a feeling sticking ten fragile stickes on the case won't be enough. Does he buy a seat for his cello? And what about people who play the double bass?

Replies (8)

February 9, 2004 at 08:00 PM · Most cellists buy seats for their precious instruments, as far as I know. Bassists use immense "coffins" that are probably indestructable even in the wake of, say, a 9.5-level earthquake. On my orchestral tours they've all been safe that way.

February 9, 2004 at 08:02 PM · i think they usually buy a seat for it

February 9, 2004 at 10:24 PM · I think Ma is a fantastic cellist and musician. One of the best concerts I have been to was him playing the Elgar cello concerto last September at the BBC proms.


February 9, 2004 at 11:32 PM · If they can afford it, cellist by their instrument a seat although there can be some problems with this in the light of all the new security measures. Some cellists have reported having to remove the endpin before they can bring it on board, and one reports he was once told he had to take the strings off!

Those who can't afford the extra ticket have to put it in cargo and get ulcers during the flight. There are several different case systems to help protect the instrument, but none are flawless. My son, the cellist, takes the train when he can and worries when he flies, but so far the instrument has not been damaged.

February 9, 2004 at 11:37 PM · There are many some great violinists around today but it's hard to think of one --off the top of my head--who combines all the wonderful qualities he has, both as a performer and as a person.

His amazing technique is only a part of what makes him so special. There is also his great intellectual curiosity which keeps him looking for new ways to play the standard repertoire and also drives him to study the musics of other cultures.

He's also done much to expand his instrument's repertoire by the large number of composers with whom he's collaborated and contemporary pieces he's premiered.

Then there's his great generosity of spirit and his "approachabilty" which makes him a wonderful ambassador for classical music.

Earlier this season, he came to play Dvorak with the Oklahoma City Phil.

It was an exhilarating experience. How many times has he performed this piece in his career? Hundreds--but we were all struck by his incredible enthusiasm and by how fresh and passionate his playing was. He was also very much playing with us (the orchestra) rather than simply doing his thing and expecting us to follow. His body language and eye contact were all about his playing a duo with the orchestra.

Cello and bass students were invited to attend the dress rehearsal and he stayed long after it had finished to talk with them, sign autographs, and pose for pictures. He also passed his cello around for the students to play on!

With regards to intellectual curiosity and promoting contemporary music, Gidon Kremer comes to mind as someone of comparable stature, but he doesn't have the same kind of "warm and fuzzy" appeal. Sometimes his playing is brilliant and sometimes it's a bit too bizarre or mannered.

February 10, 2004 at 04:59 AM · Perlman also smiles when he plays, just like Yo Yo. Heifetz didn't smile and look around at whoever he had a moving line with.

March 5, 2004 at 02:58 AM · Yes, I would say he plays mostly like Perlman. I think his almost non-stop use of virbrato is pretty similar to Perlman's style.

March 5, 2004 at 07:52 AM · I don't think you can say that artists of such calibre can be compared in such a way. They're unique individuals - and I can't think of anyone who would accurately fit the bill of being the violin equivelent of Yo-Yo Ma. That's what's great about him - he's an incredible, unique and inspiring performer.


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