Home » Artists » Songs from the Arc of Life

Yo-Yo Ma | Kathryn Stott: Bio

Yo-Yo Ma's multi-faceted career is testament to his enduring belief in culture's power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture's role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Yo-Yo strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.

Yo-Yo maintains a balance between engagements as a soloist with orchestras, recital and chamber music activities, and collaborations with a wide circle of artists and institutions. With partners from around the world and across disciplines, Yo-Yo creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making as a means not only to share and express meaning, but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society.

Expanding upon this belief, in 1998 Yo-Yo established Silkroad, a collective of artists from around the world who create music that engages their many traditions. In addition to presenting performances in venues from Suntory Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, Silkroad collaborates with museums and universities to develop training programs for teachers, musicians, and learners of all ages. Silkroad has commissioned more than 100 new works from composers and arrangers around the globe, and released seven albums, most recently a collection of music recorded for The Vietnam War, a documentary film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Through his work with Silkroad, as well as throughout his career, Yo-Yo Ma seeks to expand the classical cello repertoire, frequently performing lesser-known music of the 20th century and commissions of new concertos and recital pieces. He has premiered works by a diverse group of composers, among them Osvaldo Golijov, Leon Kirchner, Zhao Lin, Christopher Rouse, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Giovanni Sollima, Bright Sheng, Tan Dun, and John Williams.

In addition to his work as a performing artist, Yo-Yo partners with communities and institutions from Chicago to Guangzhou to develop programs that champion culture's power to transform lives and forge a more connected world. Among his many roles, he is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, artistic director of the annual Youth Music Culture Guangdong festival, and UN Messenger of Peace. He is the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum's board of trustees.

Yo-Yo's discography of over 100 albums (including 19 Grammy Award winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. In addition to his many iconic renditions of the Western classical canon, he has made several recordings that defy categorization, among them "Appalachia Waltz" and "Appalachian Journey" with Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer, and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, "Obrigado Brazil" and "Obrigado Brazil – Live in Concert." Yo-Yo's recent recordings include: "Songs from the Arc of Life," with pianist Kathryn Stott; "Sing Me Home," with the Silkroad Ensemble, which won the 2016 Grammy for Best World Music Album; "Bach Trios," with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile; "Brahms: The Piano Trios," with Emanuel Ax and Leonidas Kavakos; and "Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites."

In August 2018, Yo-Yo began a new journey, setting out to perform Johann Sebastian Bach's six suites for solo cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world, iconic venues that encompass our cultural heritage, our current creativity, and the challenges of peace and understanding that will shape our future. Each concert will be an example of culture's power to create moments of shared understanding, as well as an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.

Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and three years later moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education, graduating from Harvard University with a degree in anthropology in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Leonie Sonning Music Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), the Polar Music Prize (2012), the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013), and the J. Paul Getty Medal Award (2016). He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.

Yo-Yo and his wife have two children. He plays three instruments, a 2003 Moes & Moes cello, made in the United States, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice, and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.

 

Kathryn Stott is internationally recognised as one of Britain's most versatile and imaginative musicians and among today's most engaging pianists. She is in demand for a wide variety of chamber music alliances, playing with some of the world's leading instrumentalists, as well as appearing on major international concert platforms in recitals and concerto performances. Kathryn has also directed several distinctive concert series and festivals and has developed an extensive and exceptionally varied catalogue of recordings.

Born in Lancashire, she studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music and was a prize-winner at the Leeds International Piano Competition 1978. Her teachers included Nadia Boulanger, Vlado Perlemuter and Kendall Taylor. In addition to her busy career as a performer, she is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and was recently made an Honorary Member.

Kathryn has been performing and recording with Yo-Yo Ma for nearly 30 years and together they regularly tour Europe, the USA, South America and the Far East. She has developed shared musical interests with an amazing array of performers and has always enjoyed collaborations with other musicians. With a vast repertoire, Kathryn has maintained a keen interest in contemporary music and has had many works written especially for her. In particular, her close musical relationship with the composer Graham Fitkin has led to 7 World premieres. She is a remarkable exponent of Tango and other Latin dance music, reflected in her collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and leading South American musicians on the Grammy Award-winning Sony CD ‘Soul of the Tango' and its successor ‘Obrigado Brazil'. In the recording studio she has created a large and eclectic body of work including concertos and solo repertoire; of particular note is her recording for Hyperion of the complete solo works by Fauré and the complete Kabalevsky Concertos for Chandos. Apart from her CDs with Yo-Yo Ma, she has also recorded with Truls Mørk, Christian Poltéra, the Hermitage String Trio, Guy Johnston, the Doric string quartet, Noriko Ogawa and Tine Thing Helseth.

Kathryn Stott has been the artistic vision behind several major festivals and concert series. ‘Piano 2000' and ‘Piano 2003' ( Bridgewater Hall, Manchester) established her reputation as an astute programmer; and following the earlier ‘Fauré and the French Connection' she was appointed Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government. From 2009 - 2014 she is Artistic Director of the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society and was Guest Artistic Director of Incontri in Terra di Siena in 2010 and 2011. Kathryn curated a series of 6 concerts called ‘Dance!' for Leeds International Concerts in 2014.

A regular visitor to international festivals both as soloist and chamber musician, Kathryn has recently performed at the Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, Tonhalle, Zurich and made a welcome return to the BBC Proms performing with the BBC Concerto Orchestra. In 2014, she also toured the UK with cellist Giovanni Sollima and performed for the first time with JP Jofre and his Hard Tango Chamber Band in New York. 2015 began with a highly successful tour of New Zealand. In the Autumn, Kathryn will undertake an extensive solo tour of Australia before continuing her concert schedule in the Far East. 2015 also celebrates her 30 year partnership with Yo-Yo Ma. 

In 2008 Kathryn celebrated her 50th birthday with 25 musician friends raising £30k for HIV research and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy. Besides her performing commitments, Kathryn has also been on the Board of the Hallé Orchestra, a position she held for 7 years. Kathy Stott has a daughter, Lucy, and lives in Manchester. A keen walker, she enjoys being out in the countryside and spending time with her working cocker spaniel, Archie.

Yo-Yo Ma | Kathryn Stott

Songs from the Arc of Life

Sony Masterworks

Click Here For Artist Stories

1 Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria
2 Brahms: Lullaby
3 Dvorak: Songs My Mother Taught Me
4 Faure: Papillon
5 Gade: Tango Jalousie
6 Schumann: I. Vanitas vanitatum
7 Sibelius: Was It a Dream?
8 Faure: Apres un reve
9 Elgar: Salut d'amour
10 Gershwin: Prelude No. 1
11 Delius: Romance for Cello and Piano
12 Kreisler: La Gitana
13 Sollima: Il bell'Antonio, Tema III
14 Saint-Saens: The Swan
15 Grieg: The Wounded Heart
16 Tchaikovsky: Valse sentimentale, Op. 51, No. 6
17 Messiaen: Louange a l'eternite de Jesus
18 Debussy: Beau Soir
19 Schubert: Ave Maria
Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott - The Swan (Saint-Saens)
Yo-Yo Ma Performs 'The Swan' with Jon Batiste

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. This all-new recording also celebrates thirty years of friendship and collaboration in concerts and recordings for Ma and Stott. The album includes pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries.

13 NEW  200 Total
SYND: 
NPR/First Listen, Classical 24, CBC
Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD
Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Portland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Pittsburgh, Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Louisville, Buffalo, Madison WI, Columbus OH, Honolulu, Canada
Online: Associated Press , axs, AARP, Today Show Weekend, Wall Street Journal, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Live With Kelly & Michael, New York Magazine, AllMusic, Classicalite  Taintradio, Pop Sugar

Crossover Media Projects with: Yo-Yo Ma | Kathryn Stott