Yo-Yo Ma is a cellist from the United States. He was a child prodigy who began performing at the age of four and a half, having been born in Paris to Chinese parents and educated in New York City.

He attended Columbia University after graduating from the Juilliard School and Harvard University, and he has performed as a soloist with orchestras all around the world.

He has almost 90 albums to his credit and has won 19 Grammy Awards.

Since 2006, he has served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

In 1999, he received the Glenn Gould Prize, in 2001, the National Medal of Arts, in 2011, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2012, he received the Polar Music Prize.

Ma was included to Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2020.

You will find below a curated collection of the best ‘Yo Yo Ma’ quotes that you can read and share with others.


Best Yo Yo Ma Quotes

Nobody else can make the sound you make. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Good things happen when you meet strangers. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Sharing is a much better way to communicate than proving. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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I realized late in life that my twin passions are music and people. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Music is one of the ways we can achieve a kind of shorthand to understand each other. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth with which they think and feel. If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I learn something not because I have to, but because I really want to. That’s the same view I have for performing. I’m performing because I really want to, not because I have to bring bread back home. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I don’t always have a five-year plan. One thing you must do in life is keep your learning curve as high as possible. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

We’re not born creative or destructive. Each one of us has the ability to create or destroy, to leave the world better than we found it, or worse. ~ Yo Yo Ma.

There are limits to how much sound a cello can make. That’s part of the framing of acoustical instruments. Finding what those limits might be, and then trying to suggest perhaps even the illusion of going beyond is part of that kind of effort. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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Start each day with that I don’t understand. ~ Yo Yo Ma.

The worst thing you can do is say to yourself, I want to be just like somebody else. You have to absorb knowledge from someone else, but ultimately you have to find your own voice. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Famous Yo Yo Ma Quotes

Things can fall apart, or threaten to, for many reasons, and then there’s got to be a leap of faith. Ultimately, when you’re at the edge, you have to go forward or backward; if you go forward, you have to jump together. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

You must have a reason to be in the places to which you go, and you must do only things that you really care about. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

The role of the musician is to go from concept to full execution. Put another way, it’s to go from understanding the content of something to really learning how to communicate it and make sure it’s well-received and lives in somebody else. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film project was collaborating with so many people – directors, filmmakers, and writers – over a five-year period. I learned that there are two components to this. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I think of a piece of music as something that comes alive when it is being performed, and I feel that my role in the transmission of music is to be its best advocate at that moment. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

But an innovation, to grow organically from within, has to be based on an intact tradition, so our idea is to bring together musicians who represent all these traditions, in workshops, festivals, and concerts, to see how we can connect with each other in music. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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The tango is really a combination of many cultures, though it eventually became the national music of Argentina. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I really would like to be involved in things and to understand things, and in some ways, you’ve got to be careful what you wish for because I feel very, very blessed to have such an interesting life and to be able to have little snapshots of lives of people from many different parts of the world. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Popular Yo Yo Ma Quotes

Yo Yo Ma is a musician who plays the cello. He is very famous and has won many awards. He often performs with other musicians in orchestras or chamber groups.

Practicing is not only playing your instrument, either by yourself or rehearsing with others – it also includes imagining yourself practicing. Your brain forms the same neural connections and muscle memory whether you are imagining the task or actually doing it. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

The more tense you are, the less you can hear. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

When we have a good balance between thinking and feeling… our actions and lives are always the richer for it. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Music has always been transnational; people pick up whatever interests them, and certainly a lot of classical music has absorbed influences from all over the world. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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When people ask me how they should approach performance, I always tell them the professional musician should aspire to the state of the beginner. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I’ve been traveling all over the world for 25 years, performing, talking to people, studying their cultures and musical instruments, and I always come away with more questions in my head than can be answered. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I think there are so many ways to become interested in music. I believe signs of sustained interest gives a sense of the right time. Music, if thought of as a language, would perhaps indicate that as early as possible is not so bad. I do believe that a really nurturing first teacher that makes the child love something is crucial. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

This middle age thing is a little weird. Some friends and mentors are gone, and there’s a very forward-looking new generation coming up behind me. So it’s very much finding my own place. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I have yet to find something that beats the power of being in love, or the power of music at its most magical. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Top Yo Yo Ma Quotes

I play an instrument that has four strings, and I’m still trying to get it right. What I’ve tried to do in the process of playing these four strings is to try and understand the people I meet, the stories they have to tell. And then become an advocate for them and their stories through music. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Each day I move toward that which I do not understand. The result is continuous accidental learning which constantly shapes my life. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

One of the marks of a great teacher lies not only in an ability to impart knowledge but also in knowing when to encourage a student to go off on his own. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

It’s easy for me to care about Toronto because Toronto is a community that cares about itself. It represents the world. It talks to itself, and because it does, it figures out that there must be a music garden as part of its existence. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Jazz has been such a force in music, that any musician, including classical composers, have been influenced, and obviously performers, also. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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People will ask, ‘Are you famous?’ And I always answer, ‘My mother thinks so.’ ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I think the purpose of a piece of music is significant when it actually lives in somebody else. A composer puts down a code, and a performer can activate the code in somebody else. Once it lives in somebody else, it can live in others as well. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

One is that you have to take time, lots of time, to let an idea grow from within. The second is that when you sign on to something, there will be issues of trust, deep trust, the way the members of a string quartet have to trust one another. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

As a child, you respond physically, tactically. You’re delighted by sound, you’re delighted by recognizing something. It’s like hide and seek. Is it there? Is it not there? Is it this note? Is it not this note? It’s one fantastic game. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Powerful Yo Yo Ma Quotes

I want to investigate different cultures, to see how their identities and values affect their music. It’s one way I can get to know our world, at least to a certain depth. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

In performance, we have a greater purpose. The greater purpose is that we’re communing together, and we want this moment to be really special for all of us. Because otherwise, why bother to have come at all? It’s not about proving anything. It’s about sharing something. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Many of the Central Asians know Russian, and Ted Levin speaks it fluently. I speak Chinese, but Mongolian is completely different, so we had to have translators. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Children, in a way, are constant learners. Certainly sponge-like. Absorbing everything without careful analysis, even though, at the same time, they are certainly capable of incredible insights. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Once something is memorable, it’s living and you’re using it. That to me is the foundation of a creative society. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

A Senegalese poet said ‘In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.’ We must learn about other cultures in order to understand, in order to love, and in order to preserve our common world heritage. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Great Yo Yo Ma Quotes

As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody’s individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language, and heritage, you realize how life changes, and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

One of the things I love about music is live performance. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

The thing that I’ve always been slightly frustrated with, was that the idea of a CD is kind of confined to a material possession that you can put on a shelf. And the idea of music, for me, is always about both the communication and the sharing of content. And so the interactive part is missing. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

If you are only worried about not making a mistake then you will communicate nothing. ~ Yo Yo Ma.

My teacher, my great cello teacher Leonard Rose, was such a great cellist, and nurturing man, very patient. But I grew up not only admiring him, but obviously Casals, Rostrotovich, Jacqueline du Pre, and many others, including many of my peers and contemporaries. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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I think one of the great things about being a musician is that you never stop learning. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I remember when I was growing up. My great wish was to understand who I was and how I fit in the world. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Our cultural strength has always been derived from our diversity of understanding and experience. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

You go through phases. You have to reinvent reasons for playing, and one year’s answer might not do for another. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Insightful Yo Yo Ma Quotes

Music has always been transnational. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

What came up at age 49 is I realized that of all the things I’m interested in, the thing I’m most interested in is figuring out what makes people tick, why people think the way they do, why they act the way they do. And I realized that music is such a great way to investigate why people do what they do. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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Perfection is not very communicative. ~ Yo-Yo Ma

When you learn something from people, or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitment to preserve it and build on it. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

With every year of playing, you want to relax one more muscle. Why? Because the more tense you are, the less you can hear. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

As a musician, I’m kind of nomadic, Waldo-like. I show up in different places, and I’m witness to unbelievable things. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

I love grocery shopping when I’m home. That’s what makes me feel totally normal. I love both the idea of home as in being with my family and friends, and also the idea of exploration. I think those two are probably my great interests. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Music is powered by ideas. If you don’t have clarity of ideas, you’re just communicating sheer sound. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

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When your heart and your mind are engaged, you cannot go wrong. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.

Sound is ephemeral, fleeting, but some sort of a physical manifestation can help you hold on to it longer in time. I’m sure of this; I’ve always thought the sound that you make is just the tip of the iceberg, like the person that you see physically, is just the tip of the iceberg as well. ~ Yo-Yo Ma.



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