Yo-Yo Ma demands to go open-air

Yo-Yo Ma demands to go open-air


norman lebrecht

August 04, 2021

The cellist has asked organisers of the Prague leg of his Bach Suites world tour to move his recital next month from the Rudolfinum concert hall to the banks of the Vlatava River.

Covid is not mentioned in his request but appears to be implicit.

Yo-Yo Ma says:  This concert is a stop on the way to sharing this music with people seeking balance and comfort in a moment of unprecedented change. I share this music that has helped shape the development of my life in the hope that it will stimulate a conversation about culture as a source of solution that we need… Bach’s cello suites were my constant musical companions. For almost six decades, they have provided me with energy, comfort and joy in times of stress, celebration and loss. How powerful is this music that, even today, after three hundred years, it still helps us to go through troubled times? 



  • fflambeau says:

    Good for him. It is too dangerous in doors at the moment; he’s right.

    • Karl says:

      I wonder why I’m not dead. I’ve been to at least 20 indoor concerts and recitals this summer.

      • Emil says:

        Good for you; you are not the whole world, and other people may have different circumstances.

      • Althea T-H says:

        You might not be…but what if some of the people who sat near you are?

      • Bmc3 says:

        So self-centered, Karl

      • Bmc3 says:

        Wow, Karl, so self-centered.

      • Petros Linardos says:


        • Tamino says:

          The hystery of some people is astonishing, simply because they lack either the culture or the education, to comprehend statistics.
          Surely with all elderly having had the chance to be vaccinated, we must go back to excercise our freedom rights, including gatherings like concerts.

      • Bill says:

        The Case Fatality Rate for COVID-19 infection is not 100%, so you might have been infected and simply failed to die.

        • Karl says:

          I think I probably did have it from one of three visits to Boston in January 2020. There were many undiagnosed cases there from students returning from China. I thought it was the flu until months later when we were told it sometimes causes nausea and not breathing problems.

          • Saxon says:

            You were unlikely to have had Covid in January 2020. You may very well have had it without knowing it at a later date since around half of people basically have no noticeable symptoms at all.

      • Henry williams says:

        Good immune system.

  • Emil says:

    Now, that is how you make “music for everyone” (referring to the post re. Kulaglich)

  • Gustavo says:

    May I suggest he plays in the Arcade at Vysehrad cemetery near Dvorak’s grave.

    Also for acoustical reasons.


  • pvl says:

    Hope it rains cats and dogs that day

  • Larry W says:

    “The organizers decided to change the venue at the artist’s request and in agreement with the management. Both the date and time of the concert remain unchanged.”

    Not sure how an agreed to request can be called a demand. A quintessential gentleman, Yo-Yo doesn’t make demands.

  • MacroV says:

    Prague doesn’t have a Hollywood Bowl or even a Tanglewood shed, but I’m sure they could create an appropriate outdoor venue for the occasion. Usually the Czech Philharmonic plays its summer outdoor show(s) in the plaza at Prague Castle.

  • Larry W says:

    The river through Prague is Vltava (not Vlatava). Its German name, Moldau, may be more familiar since Smetana’s great piece was first published in Germany.

    • Tamino says:

      Since the middle ages until about 1860 German was the the majority language in Bohemia, and also the language of education. Only after that the Czech language emancipated itself and then eventually became the majority language. With the expulsion of Germans after WW2 the German language became extinct in the Czech lands.

  • Laura says:

    I like open air concerts.

  • LB says:

    I spoke with him a couple weeks ago. He was quite passionate about his growing conviction that classical music belongs outdoors, because so much of it is inspired by nature. I think this just might be something he’s enjoying exploring right now rather than any kind of COVID statement.

  • Rose says:

    I rather wonder whether Yo-Yo Ma has ever “demanded” anything in his life, but I guess it makes for more clicks, eh?

  • Catherine Davis says:

    Vltava is the correct spelling; you can never have too many aligned consonants in the Czech language!