Watch: Yo Yo Ma plays for a painting

The cellist made a surprise visit to the Neue Galerie where he performed three minutes of Swiss composer Ernest Bloch’s ‘Prayer,’ from Jewish Life No. 1 (1924) in front of Gustav Klimt’s portrait “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” ⠀

This impromptu moment, conceived by Mr. Ma, was inspired after watching the scene in the historical drama “Woman in Gold” during which Adele’s father plays this same song in a heart-wrenching farewell to his family, just minutes before his home is invaded by the Gestapo.

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