Yo Yo Ma takes a class on the South Side

The great cellist is getting engaged with Chicago’s neighborhoods, working with the University and the Civic Orchestra. Watch.

yo yo ma civic

‘As long as I’ve come to Chicago, I’ve wanted to really get to know the South Side the way that a guest knows a host,’ Ma said. He told the musicians that by exploring new venues for their art, ‘You are doing something society doesn’t encourage us to do very often. You’re opening yourself to being vulnerable. And the vulnerability becomes your strength… Our job is to join people in the greatest possible communal experience.’

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  • I’d add that Yo Yo Ma, Renee Fleming and Damian Woetzel have been working with the Chicago Public Schools for almost 5 years. They were instrumental in the Chicago Education Plan that made music and art core subjects. All three go regularly into the schools, but this seems to be a new area of the city.

    Ma is also very involved in President Obama’s huge Turnaround Arts program that engages well-known artists in schools all over the country.

    These three artists have been dedicating an inordinate amount of time to the issue of music education in future generations for years.

    A video of their work in one school at the launch of the Campaign for Creative Schools in 2014.


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