Yo-Yo Ma

The cult of the virtuoso is alive and well even as pop music fills arenas and classical music fills the discount bins. Back in the day, it was folks like Italian violinist Nicolo Paganini who sold out concerts, wowed audiences and got more 19th-century tail than you could shake a bow at. But whereas cellist Yo-Yo Ma has avoided the more lascivious side of such fame, his renowned skill, his range and his amicable nature as a scholar and teacher have made him a household name from the sidewalks of Sesame Street to the backwoods of Appalachia. Such achievements might not earn Ma tons of room keys or hordes of groupies, but the accolades he has earned will certainly be more lasting.

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