A clip from the program Yo Yo Ma & Friends with James Taylor
Yo-Yo Mawas born in Paris to Chinese parents and had a musical upbringing. His mother, Marina Lu, was a singer, and his father, Hiao-Tsiun Ma, was a professor of music. His family moved to New York when he was four years old.
At a very young age, Ma began studying violin, and later viola, before taking up the cello in 1960 at age four. The child prodigy began performing before audiences at age five, and performed for President John F. Kennedy when he was seven. At age eight, he appeared on American television in a concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein. By fifteen years of age, Ma had graduated from Trinity School in New York and appeared as a soloist with the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra in a performance of the Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations.
Ma studied at the Juilliard School of Music with Leonard Rose, and attended Columbia University, before enrolling at Harvard University, but began questioning whether he should continue his studies until, in the 1970s, Pablo Casals’s performances inspired him.
However, even before that time he had steadily gained fame and had performed with most of the world’s major orchestras. His recordings and performances of the Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suites recorded in 1983 and again in 1994-1997 are particularly acclaimed. He has also played a good deal of chamber music, often with the pianist Emanuel Ax with whom he has a close friendship back from their days together at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is a Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter and guitarist born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in Carrboro, North Carolina.
Taylor’s career began in the mid-1960s, but he found his most devoted audience in the early 1970s, singing sensitive and introspective songs. He was part of a wave of singer-songwriters of the time that also included Cat Stevens, Carole King, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Tom Rush, and Jackson Browne, as well as Carly Simon, whom Taylor later married, although it did not last.
His 1976 album Greatest Hits was certified diamond and has sold more than 11 million copies. He has retained a large audience well into the 1990s and early 2000s, when some of his best-selling and most-awarded albums were released.