Yo-Yo Ma: advocating for social transformation through culture

Posted on: April 7, 2014

In Sunday’s (4/6) Detroit Free Press (Michigan), Mark Stryker writes that cellist Yo-Yo Ma “was invited to ruminate on the challenges facing classical music” while in Detroit to perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In the interview, Ma “began by noting that classical music in America was founded on European models and inextricably linked to cities’ cultural aspirations: a marker of civil society.… Today, sports have become a more influential currency of civic pride, and classical music’s once secure place among common culture has slipped.… Ma has taken advantage of his star power by championing a broad range of artistic activities, from advocating for contemporary music to spearheading his ambitious Silk Road Project…. He has forged ongoing partnerships with the Chicago Symphony, where he’s a creative consultant, and Harvard, where the Silk Road Project is in residence…. Ma is intensely interested in alternative models … among them the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, which promotes minorities in classical music, and independent-minded organizations like International Contemporary Ensemble, an artist-driven new music group, and the Knights, a chamber orchestra collective…. What advice would he give to young musicians? ‘In everything that you do, respond to need, and make your life about social transformation through culture,’ he said.”

Posted April 7, 2014