Yo-Yo Ma Biography
Yo-Yo Ma (Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: M? Y?uy?u) (born October 7, 1955) is a French-born Chinese American virtuoso cellist, considered one of the finest in the world.
Ma was born in Paris to Chinese parents and had a musical upbringing. His mother, Marina Lu (Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Lú Y?wén), was a singer, while his father, Hiao-Tsiun Ma (Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: M? Xiàojùn), was a conductor and composer. Ma began to study the violin, then the viola, before taking up the cello. His family moved to New York when he was seven years old.
Ma was a child prodigy, appearing on American television at the age of eight in a concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein. He entered the Juilliard School, and spent a semester studying at Columbia University before enrolling at Harvard University, but had begun to question whether to continue his studies until, in the 1970s, Pablo Casals's performing inspired him.
Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance:
In the TV sitcom Seinfeld, the character Cosmo Kramer says Yo-Yo Ma several times in the episode "The Pitch/The Ticket" (episodes 3 and 4 of season 4) after the character Crazy Joe Davola kicks him in the head and causes substantial brain damage.
Ma has also made a guest appearance on the animated series Arthur, though D.W. kept calling him "Yo Ma-Ma".
Ma appeared in the West Wing episode "Noël", in which he performed at a Christmas dinner at the White House.
In the movie School of Rock, Ma is referenced by Dewey Finn at the teachers table, saying "Yo-Yo Ma's cousin little Nepatiz."
In The Sopranos episode "University", one character claims that "we Italians are the only ones who use nicknames to such an extent." To this, Silvio Dante responds, "Nah...your Chinese...what's his name...Yo-Yo Ma," the idea being that Chinese also use "nicknames," though "Yo-Yo" is Ma's birthname, not a nickname.
In The Simpsons episode, "Missionary: Impossible", when Homer is being chased by PBS after promising to donate them $10,000, Yo-Yo Ma is seen in the crowd. He attacks Homer with his cello.