January 14, 2006
By Dietrich Lasa
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has chosen internationally well-known cellist Yo-Yo Ma as a peace ambassador.
The New York-based performer is among the most in-demand cellists on the planet.
Ma, 50, was born in Paris , then settled in New York when only five years of age to plunge into music through the Julliard School. He graduated from Harvard in 1976 and is appreciated for his interpretations of J. S. Bach and Beethoven.
Not being one to avoid experiment, Ma has deviated into other types of music including pop, Brazilian samba, bluegrass, jazz and tango. With in excess of 50 recordings under his bow, he has recorded together with the likes of Kathryn Stott, Bobby McFerrin and Egberto Gismonti.
Ma has 15 Grammys at the time of writing this article (2006). Ma was, in addition, the 1999 receiver of the Glenn Gould award for musicianship.
Annan verified the cellist would come to be a "peace envoy," joining a lineup of further notables which include environmentalist Jane Goodall, actor Michael Douglas, basketball player Magic Johnson, jazz musician and performer Wynton Marsalis, opera performer Luciano Pavarotti and Nobel laureate Elie Weisel.
Peace messengers travel around the planet offering a message of peace.