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Over the decades Yo-Yo Ma not only has become a favorite performer of the cello but has extended his activities beyond chamber music and concertos, with extraordinary breadth, as if to see what usage could be made of the cello in just about every aspect of the world’s musics, from Appalachia to the Silk Trail. Clearly audiences have learned to trust him to offer music superbly played, with the exquisite technique, expressive warmth, and sheer joy that have always been so prominent a part of his persona. Even with only a vague idea of what they will hear, audiences throng. Ozawa Hall was packed, and the lawn outside the rear barn door held as many people as I have ever seen there.
I was fortunate enough to hear Yo-Yo Ma in a cello-piano recital when he was only 13. I learned his age after the fact. As I sat there in a state of wonder, I guessed from the maturity and expressiveness of his playing that he could not be under 18, though I considered that the possibility simply because his appearance would not have allowed for anything older. I was confident in any case that I would be hearing his name again. I doubt anyone could have anticipated the arc of his extraordinary career. But when he did reappear as a concert artist at a professional level during his Harvard years, he quickly established the reputation

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