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Inspiration from Yo Yo Ma

When I was in middle school and high school I played cello in addition to piano. I was not as committed: I only took school lessons, not private, and I didn’t practice very diligently. (The best thing going for me was that for my first year in high school orchestra, our first cello was Carter Brey, who is now first cello for the New York Philharmonic — not a bad role model!) Nonetheless, the cello was and remains my favorite string instrument.

It’s not hard to be inspired by Yo Yo Ma. The passage below suggests the inspiration he gave the New York Times reviewer, and I in turn found these words inspiring me to pay more attention to color and shading in my music making:

Some cellists may have a bigger sound, but Mr. Ma draws listeners in, an art
he practices as well as any musician alive. The variety of colorings,
shadings and nuances, as always, was wondrous: from the rich, mellow and
dusky quality he brought to the wistful secondary theme in the fitful first
movement, to the pale, spectral tone during passages of haunting arpeggio
figurations in the slow movement. He shaped the theme of that moody Adagio
with poignant nobility and brought sweep, generous lyricism and punchy
rhythmic vigor to the rhapsodic finale.

— Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 20 Sept 2007

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