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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Yo-Yo Ma

Isaac Stern, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and the LSO: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

I could listen to these three gentlemen play Beethoven indefinitely and never tire of it.  The delicacy that Isaac Stern plays the violin with in this performance is unbelievable, even at the age of 72.  The soaring lyricism of Yo-Yo Ma on the cello is truly inspirational.  And the flow of Emanuel Ax's piano playing is as good as anyone in history. Beethoven is my favorite composer.  If I could only take one composer with me when everything is all said and done, it would be Beethoven.  The brilliant Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello ranks near the very top of my favorite compositions of all time.

(As a side note, imagine playing an instrument that was invented after your favorite composer had already passed away.  I will probably be in therapy for the rest of my life!)

The special thing about musicians who know each other's playing as well as Stern, Ma, and Ax do is that each performance sounds like a private musical conversation which all in attendance get the privilege of overhearing.  The amazing thing about technology is we all get to "attend" this concert 21 years later from our phones if we choose to!

Their communication both with each other and with the London Symphony is special in this clip.  This level of artistry inspires me to go practice every time.


Monday YouTube Fix: Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Mark O'Connor & Edgar Meyer

Andrew Hitz

I guess this clip is predictably awesome.  I don't care what these four musicians are playing, if they are playing together it is going to be special.  Even 'Hush Little Baby'! As people who are at the absolute top of their profession, all four of these guys are used to being the center of musical attention.  Yet in this clip, each one is both contributing and not even remotely over-stepping their role within the ensemble.  This is unheralded yet imperative quality in any musician.

This is such a simple version of an incredibly simple tune yet there is something very special about it.  Oh to have been in the audience for this performance.



The Next Level

Andrew Hitz

I've found that to go from one level to another you often have to destroy some knowledge in order to gain other knowledge. - Yo-Yo Ma

Something I need to do much more frequently is question what I believe to be the facts about tuba playing.  Any breakthrough I've ever had has involved replacing what I know with better, newer, and more efficient knowledge.  To most efficiently make room for new knowledge I must question what I already believe to be true.