Yo Yo Ma: Would I play for Trump on his deathbed? No

From an interview in today’s FT:

“Would I play for him on his deathbed? No,” Ma says. “I operate on the premise that absolutely anybody can change, and I also recognise that it’s possible that somebody may never change . . . I also think, just by observing the performance arts world, huge ego is very often matched by huge insecurity…”

Read on here.

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  • Yo Yo Ma playing for Trump at his deathbed may be cruel and unusual punishment. Just because Trump is into hate and vengeance doesn’t mean that we should pay him back the same way.

  • But he would play for Obama I’d take it?

    This is exactly why a sociopath like Trump got elected; He was and is a human middle finger to our ever “enlightened”, technocratic, new agey´, best and brightest, smooth talking, meritocrats… a middle finger to the class of people who every always speak down to the lower 90% of dregs with their “humble”, social egalitarian, transnational, unracist, unsexist, unprejudiced, globalist, utopian values.?

    Uhh… I’m done. Good job on provoking a comment Mr. Lebrecht

    • Conner, look in the mirror and look at what you have become.
      When you’re done reflecting, look into anger management courses. You have one of the highest standards of living in the world, however you still feel left behind. Yo Yo Ma may not be everyone’s favourite cellist, but he knows evil when he sees it, and Trump is evil. As for your anger, stop carelessly throwing around labels and falsely projecting your fears onto other people. The Republican Party is destroying the United States and that doesn’t seem to bother you one bit. It should.

      • “The Republican Party is destroying the United States and that doesn’t seem to bother you one bit”

        No, it bothers me very very much. I thought that would get across when I said “a sociopath like Trump got elected”.

        My point is, is that it was the high and mighty attitude of the Democrats and their enlightened “Oprahtiers” that became repugnant enough for people to vote trump in. As long as people think its all about “enlightened democrats” vs “Evil racist republicans” the democrats will likely lose again; when it was people like YoYoMa who for decades preached “humbly” (really the highest form of arrogance) from up high “globalism”, “no borders” while blue collar jobs were shipped across the borders and the lower, not super college credentialed, 90% of America was pushed into a economic dog eat dog competition by Democrats and Republicans. The Silk roads, Oprah type utopia is only a utopia for the winners. The whole foods, amazon loving, harvard loving east coast elites who have in recent years become richer as an outcome of betraying our inner america “deplorables”

        I thought Oprahtiers were all about “no one is really evil” and “listening to the other side”? and yet a glimmer of the hypocrisy of this meritous social class is shown when someone like YoYo says “I’ll never play for him on his death bed”.

        • I disagree with many of your arguments, especially about cause and effect. Moreover, the divisions between liberals and conservatives have become deeper lately in part because of each side’s misconceptions of the other. The media and many politicians feed into those misconceptions.

          A particularly sad issue is about racism or, rather, bigotism: discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion. Bigots may feel well represented by Trump, given his overtly bigoted rhetoric and policies. Yet it is fundamentally wrong to assume that all Trump voters are bigots or Republicans. The majority of them aren’t.

  • “Would you play cello for Tump on his death bed” seems like one of those questions for which No, Yes and Maybe are equally bad answers.

  • Unless Yo Yo Ma can play a version of ‘Money, Money, Money’ (‘For the Love of Money’) that is better than the O’JAYS, I don’t think Trump would be even slightly interested.

  • The Financial Times wants me to subscribe before it will let me read the rest of the article. Maybe they’ve learnt something from Trump.

    • I have made a posting to Slipped Disc with the entire story, which is rather long. Maybe Norman will put it on Slipped Disc, and maybe we won’t.

      Here is the part of the story about Trump.

      So, I come to the in­evitable question: would he perform for President Trump?

      “First of all, there are some layers of values that I think are really important. The first one is I think civic discourse is absolutely essential . . . There are places where civic discourse should take place, whether it’s a state function or because someone’s visiting . . . It’s like, you have disagreements with family but on holidays you agree not to talk about certain subjects,” he laughs.

      But surely, I push him, Bach could give Trump a valuable lesson in humility; if he asked you to do a private performance . . . ? “Would I play for him on his deathbed? No,” Ma says. “I operate on the premise that absolutely anybody can change, and I also recognise that it’s possible that somebody may never change . . . I also think, just by observing the performance arts world, huge ego is very often matched by huge insecurity.”

        • Norman is correct. The Financial Times says this: “Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy….”

          However if you google a sentence from the excerpt above, you will be taken to the entire story online, without facing a paywall.

          There are now 60 comments that can be read on the Financial Times website.

          • One of the comments on the Financial Times website is from the author of the story and is definitely relevant to the discussion on Slipped Disc. Maybe Norman will agree to including it here:

            Laura Battle writes:
            “Just to be clear, I did not ask Ma if he would play for Trump on his deathbed – that was a question he posed and answered himself.

            “As for the more general question(s) about whether he would perform for Trump – it is not one that I would put to other musicians, but given Ma’s lifelong association with US presidents, his interest in civic discourse and his desire to build bridges through culture, I felt it was relevant here.”

  • Wasn’t the blind Delius serenaded on his deathbed by Bach suites (organised by Fenby), then commenting that some cellist had been practising scales and arpeggi in his room.

  • When Paganini was in his last days he sent a note to his only official pupil,Camillo Sivori,asking him to come and play for him “vorrei Che voi potreste onorarmi con la voce del vostro violin”. Needless to say,the request was duly honoured
    In 1882 Giuseppe Garibaldi,in a similar predicament,requested an identical gesture from Sivori. Again,it was duly honoured.
    I wonder how Camillo Sivori would feel about giving deathbed serenades to today’s politicians……Well,Boulez wrote some violin ‘music’……

  • “I operate on the premise that absolutely anybody can change, and I also recognise that it’s possible that somebody may never change . . . ”
    Yo-Yo Ma

    “BE YOURSELF is about the worst advice you can give some people.”

    (I always thought this was a Mark Twain quote but now I find it attributed to Thomas Lansing Masson, Alain de Botton, and J. B. Priestley)

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