Who defines the greatest cellist? Who is Yo-Yo Ma and how does he contribute to connect classical music to the world? From performing for president Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy at age 7 to having concerts all over the world, Yo-Yo Ma is the greatest cellist all the time.
Yo-Yo Ma is often considered to be the most well-known cellist in modern history. He brought classical music to the general public, despite classical music not being widely played. Yo-yo Ma learned to play cello at four years old and gave his first public recital at age five. Later in his life, he performed as part of a trio and recorded his traditional cello repertoire. His collaboration with artists and musicians from other genres and traditions rejuvenated classical music and popularized it to the public. He founded the Silk Road Project in 1998, aiming to make international classical music more widely accessible. This project explored culture along the silk road, which includes Asia, the Middle East, and the West. Ma led a group of musicians to perform classical music along the Silk Road. More people gained access to classical music because of the effort. This group of musicians also offered new compositions that combined different cultures, and eventually made an album.
Yo-yo Ma plays a wide range of genres, from Bach to Chinese folk. He does not specifically focus on one type of genre, classical music. His transient style capitalizes on popular genres and artists to reach relevance. He is not necessarily providing a novel musical experience to the public. There are many great cellists in the world, and the criteria for a cellist's skill is purely subjective. Although Yo-yo Ma had a large influence on popularizing music to the world, other cellists, such as Pablo Casals, might be the greatest cellist of all time. Pablo Casals made the most popular Bach recording ever and made a bridge between the modern age and classical music.