Artist

Yo-Yo Ma

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Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris on October 7, 1955, to Chinese parents and had a musical upbringing. His mother, Marina Lu, was a singer and his father, Hiao-Tsiun Ma, was a violinist and professor of music at Nanjing National Central University (predecessor of the present-day Nanjing University). His sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma, played the violin before obtaining a medical degree and becoming a pediatrician. The family moved to New York when Ma was seven years old.

From the earliest possible age, Ma played the violin, piano and later viola, but settled on cello in 1960 at age four. Ma jokes that his first choice was the double bass due to its large size, but he compromised and took up cello instead. The child prodigy began performing before audiences at age five and performed for presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy when he was seven.

Ma is married to Jill Hornor, an arts consultant. They have two children, Nicholas and Emily. Although he personally considers it the "worst epithet he's ever faced", he was still "tagged" in 2001 as "Sexiest Classical Musician" by People. He has continued to receive such accolades over the years, including from AARP in 2012. However, he has also been praised as a man of unquestionable character. He has also been singled out for his humble spirit, self-effacing manner, and humanitarianism.
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