Kelly Bell



            The University of Texas at Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center in conjunction with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra are to present internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the Cowan Center Sunday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m. The East Texas Orchestra, conducted by Richard Lee, will also present Dvorak’s Humoresque, and Sibelius’ Symphony #1 in E Minor. Ma will play Dvorak’s powerful Cello Concerto in B Minor.

            Ma began as a child prodigy, starting public performances at age four. He later graduated from both the Julliard School of Music and Harvard University. He has earned a reputation as the foremost cellist of his generation. His globe-spanning career has led him to work with every major conductor and musical ensemble. He has recorded more than 100 albums and earned 18 Grammy Awards, frequently collaborating with other world-famous artists. He is dedicated to introducing new generations to music through teaching, collaborations and special projects. Cowan Center Executive Director Susan Thomae-Morphew cannot wait to get started.

            “It has been a dream for more than 15 years to bring Yo-Yo Ma to the area,” she said. “We are excited to work with the East Texas Symphony Orchestra as we did when we jointly presented Itzhak Perlman. This would not be possible without the wonderful support of the community and the collaborative spirit of our two organizations.”

            East Texas Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Vanessa Gardner is equally enthusiastic.

            “As a newcomer to Tyler I am excited to work collaboratively with the UT-Tyler Cowan Center to finally be able to present Yo-Yo Ma together,” she said.

            Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began his musical training at age four before he and his family moved to New York, where he spent his formative years becoming very serious about learning the cello. While at the Julliard School he studied under Leonard Rose, then moved on to Harvard and pursuing a liberal arts curriculum, graduating in 1976. He recognitions include the Avery Fisher Prize in 1978, the Glenn Gould Prize in 1999, the National Medal of the Arts in 2001, the Dan David Prize in 2006, the Leonie Sonning Music Prize in 2006, the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 2008, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, the Polar Music Prize in 2012 and the Vilkcek Prize in Contemporary Music in 2012. In 2011 he earned appointment as a Kennedy Center Honoree, and in 2002 the State Department appointed him a CultureConnect Ambassador. He has trained literally thousands of students from such points as Lithuania, Lebanon, Korea, Azerbaijan and China, and presently serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. He has performed for eight U.S. presidents, most recently for Barak Obama on the 56th Inaugural Ceremony. Besides a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice he also plays a 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.

            His Tyler concert will be a Frances Cowan Gibson Classical Music Event and a Braithwaite Performing Arts program supported by the Women’s Symphony League of Tyler. Media sponsors will be KETK, NBC, Sunny 106.5, and Lamar Advertising. Public ticket sales will begin August 21. East Texas Symphony Orchestra 5-concert series subscribers and UT-Tyler Cowan Center Braithwaite Intimate Gathering Series subscribers may begin purchasing tickets on July 17.