Yo-Yo Ma and Empowering Society Through the Arts

Yo-Yo Ma speaking at DePauw Discourse 2011. The talk was titled 'Reflections on a Life in Music'

So on Thursday I drove up to my Alma mater, DePauw University, to attend this year’s DePauw Discourse.  This year’s guest was Yo-Yo Ma, who probably doesn’t need any introduction (just click on the link to his website for more info).  The entire schedule may be found here, though there were a number of concurrent events happening as Mr. Ma had many other appearances throughout the event which were not publicly announced including a masterclass for the music students as well as other performances.

One performance not mentioned took place immediately after his talk Thursday night–a performance with members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, DePauw University School of Music students and faculty and, well, me.  I happened to have my cello with me as I had a performance in Indianapolis last night and wouldn’t have had time to get back home.  So I was asked to join the performance of a reading of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.  My stand partners (three of us shared a stand of music) were my cello prof while I was at DePauw, Eric Edberg (who is still teaching there), and Mr. Ma himself.  The former was to my right and the latter to my left.  It was an unexpected,, but pleasant, surprise.  After that reading those of us left broke out in a group improv/drum circle which Mr. Ma declined to participate in as he had another engagement.

The whole weekend was chock full of events and I must admit I had to miss a number of them for various reasons.  I’m still reeling from the experience and all the stimulating discourse.  I’m not entirely sure how long it will take to process but will probably blog about some thoughts over the next few days as I know I have tons to say about it.

Last night was a performance with one of my groups in Indianapolis which brought some surprise family visitors who wanted to celebrate my birthday (which was yesterday) and brought me a birthday cheesecake and cupcakes for all the participants in the show.  I ended up playing the third movement of the Cassado suite for solo cello (which went much better than a previous performance I did at Derby City Espresso a couple weeks ago), but more about that later.

For now, check out the links above and this one in particular which has video excerpts of Mr. Ma’s talk from Thursday,  ‘Reflections on a Life in Music.’  Also, a photoalbum of the talk by DePauw staff photographer, Larry Ligget, may be found here.

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