Chicago Symphony Orchestra to Extend Creative Consultant Contract with Yo-Yo Ma
(CHICAGO)-Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) President Jeff Alexander announce a two-year contract extension for world-renowned cellist and educator, Yo-Yo Ma, who has served as the organization's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant since the position was established in 2010.
Yo-Yo Ma's position as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first creative consultant stands as a cornerstone of Muti's vision for the CSO: to deepen the Orchestra's engagement with the Chicago community, to develop a new generation of musicians, and to collaborate with peer artists to bring unparalleled musical experiences to the CSO's audiences at home and around the world.
As Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, Ma has served as a catalyst in the CSOA's continued commitment to the belief that music can bridge gaps between people, create community, and inspire and transform lives. With guidance from Muti and Ma, this core belief has sparked a variety of programs both in and outside of Symphony Center, the Orchestra's home, involving musicians of the CSO and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, with Muti and Ma both playing a major role in many of these activities. Since 2010, program sites in addition to Symphony Center have included Chicago-area prisons, schools, hospitals, community centers and other public spaces in the city, as well as a wide variety of sites when the CSO is on tour in the U.S. and throughout the world, such as churches, medical centers, music and special needs schools, rehabilitation and foster homes and orphanage centers.
Ma has served as an invaluable partner to Muti and to the CSO musicians, as well as to the CSO's Negaunee Music Institute. Ma's creativity has helped develop new programs for young people-the innovative Once Upon a Symphonyseries which integrates performances by CSO musicians and storytelling to engage children ages 3-5 and their families-and his artistry has enhanced performance and training experiences for members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Ma's work as a mentor for the Civic Orchestra focuses on the musical growth of Civic musicians through a series of artistic challenges intended to develop the breadth and depth of their skills in order to help them be successful in orchestras and beyond. These challenges also engage the broader Chicago community, taking Ma and the Civic Orchestra into community spaces and schools throughout Chicago for free performances.
During his time as the CSO's Creative Consultant, Ma has also worked through the CSO to convene Chicago's cultural organizations, and has actively advocated for arts education as a national cultural advisor for the Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Plan and an honorary co-chair of the Campaign for Creative Schools, which is generating funding to support the implementation of the Arts Education Plan.
"Over the last five years, Yo-Yo Ma has been an invaluable partner in the CSO's efforts to cultivate and raise a new generation of musicians and music lovers, and I am very happy that he has agreed to continue our collaboration," said Riccardo Muti. "He has been instrumental in deepening the CSO's ongoing work in the Chicago community and in helping us to bring music to those who might not otherwise experience its power. There is still work to be done and I can think of no better partner in this effort than my friend, Yo-Yo Ma."
"Culture inspires all of us to ask questions, to learn more about one another and to share the joy of creating community together," said CSO Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant Yo-Yo Ma. "I consider it a privilege to partner with the CSO, an organization that understands the power that music and culture have to transform lives. I am pleased and grateful to have the opportunity to continue my work as a Creative Consultant with the CSO and to collaborate with Maestro Muti, the Negaunee Music Institute and the entire organization. Together, we look forward to sharing the many resources of the CSO and the Civic Orchestra with our schools and with the whole city of Chicago."
"Yo-Yo's dedication to making music at the highest artistic level accessible to all audiences continues to inspire," said Joyce Green. "I'm delighted that he will be with us in this capacity to continue to explore new ways of music-making in our community."
"Yo-Yo's artistry is an incredible gift to our CSO and Civic musicians and to the city of Chicago, said Judson Green. "Joyce and I are delighted that he has become an integral part of our community and look forward to how he will inspire us all in the future."
"We are extremely grateful to Judson and Joyce Green for their continued generosity in funding this unique and important position," said CSOA President Jeff Alexander. "The impact of Yo-Yo's presence with us here at the CSO has led to extraordinary programming ideas, music-making and educational partnerships. I look forward to continuing to work with him to share the joy of classical music and what it can mean to people of all ages, backgrounds and experiences."
As Ma renews his commitment as the CSO's Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, he is scheduled to return for several residencies during the 2015/16 season. Together, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and Ma will contribute to the celebration of the CSO's 125th anniversary season and its 125 concerts in the community with a special free performance at a Chicago Public School during one of Ma's residencies. Details will be announced at a later date. Activities already planned by the Negaunee Music Institute for Ma's 2015/16 Creative Consultant residencies include the second annual Bach Brandenburg Marathon project with members of the Civic Orchestra on December 3, master classes and workshops with young Chicago area musicians as part of the 2016 Chicago Youth in Music Festival and a June 2016 residency at a Chicago Public School with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Ma will also perform at Symphony Center with members of the CSO in their annual Symphony Center Presents (SCP) Chamber Music program on June 12. Ma's post as Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant extends through the CSO's 2016/17 season.
Yo-Yo Ma, Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Yo-Yo Ma's multifaceted career is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences and for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing a new concerto, revisiting a familiar work from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music or exploring musical forms outside of the Western classical tradition, he strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination.
One of Ma's goals is the exploration of music as a means of communication and as a vehicle for the migration of ideas across a range of cultures throughout the world. Expanding upon this interest, in 1998 Ma established Silkroad, a nonprofit organization that works at the intersections between education, business, and the arts. In the 2006/07 season, partnering with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the City of Chicago, Silkroad presented Silk Road Chicago, a citywide exploration of the artistic legacy of the ancient trade routes. In 2009/10, Silkroad introduced Silk Road Connect, a multidisciplinary educational initiative for New York City middle-school students.
An exclusive Sony Classical artist, his discography of over 90 albums (including more than 17 Grammy Awards) reflects his wide-ranging interests. Ma's recent recordings include "Mendelssohn: Piano Trios" with Emanuel Ax and Itzhak Perlman, and "The Goat Rodeo Sessions," with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile and Stuart Duncan, which received the 2013 Grammy for Best Folk Album. His album, "A Playlist Without Borders", recorded with the Silk Road Ensemble, was released in September 2013. Ma's most recent album, "Songs from the Arc of Life," with pianist Kathryn Stott, was released in September 2015.
Ma is strongly committed to educational programs that not only bring young audiences into contact with classical music but also allow them to participate in its creation. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006) and the Sonning Prize (2006). In February 2010, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, from President Obama. Yo-Yo Ma serves as a UN Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He was also recently recognized as a 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree and a 2012 Polar Music Prize Laureate. Ma also serves as an honorary co-chair of the Campaign for Creative Schools, which was launched in October 2014 and supports an expanded arts program and arts education plan for Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
Born to Chinese parents living in Paris, Ma began to study the cello with his father at the age of four and later with Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School. He graduated from Harvard University in 1976. He plays a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.
Joyce Green has been a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Board of Trustee since 2006, and has served on the Executive Committee. She is also a board member of the CSO's Negaunee Music Institute. Mrs. Green founded and chaired the weekend symposium DePauw Discourse and chaired the Washington C. DePauw Society at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. She currently serves with The Friends of the Mennello Museum of American Art and the women's board of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Mrs. Green received her Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University.
Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Since 2010, the preeminent conductor Riccardo Muti has served as its 10th music director. Pierre Boulez is the CSO's Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus, Yo-Yo Ma is its Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, and Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek are its Mead Composers-in-Residence. From baroque through contemporary music, the CSO commands a vast repertoire. Its renowned musicians annually perform more than 150 concerts, most at Symphony Center in Chicago and, each summer, at the suburban Ravinia Festival. They regularly tour nationally and internationally. Since 1892, the CSO has made 58 international tours, performing in 29 countries on five continents. People around the globe listen to weekly radio broadcasts of CSO concerts and recordings on the WFMT radio network and online at cso.org/radio. Recordings by the CSO have earned 62 Grammy Awards, including two in 2011 for Muti's recording with the CSO and Chorus of Verdi's Messa da Requiem (Muti's first of four releases with the CSO to date). Find details on these and many other CSO recordings at www.cso.org/resound. The CSO is part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, which also includes the Chicago Symphony Chorus (Duain Wolfe, Director and Conductor) and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a training ensemble for emerging professionals. Through its prestigious Symphony Center Presents series, the CSOA presents guest artists and ensembles from a variety of genres-classical, jazz, world and contemporary.
The Negaunee Music Institute at the CSO offers community and education programs that annually engage more than 200,000 people of diverse ages and backgrounds. Through the Institute and other activities, including a free annual concert with Muti and the CSO, the CSO is committed to using the power of music to create connections and build community.
The CSO is supported by thousands of patrons, volunteers and institutional and individual donors. Bank of America is the Global Sponsor of the CSO. The CSO's music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation. The Negaunee Foundation provides generous support in perpetuity for the work of the Negaunee Music Institute.