World-Renowned Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Headlines 15th Anniversary Season of Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla.--()--The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival today announced that cellist Yo-Yo Ma will make his first-ever appearance in northeastern Florida by opening the Festival’s 15th anniversary season on January 14, 2016. Universally considered one of the world’s greatest cellists, he has made over 90 recordings and received 18 Grammy Awards. Yo-Yo Ma is acclaimed for his extraordinary technique, rich tone and collaborations with musicians from other genres and cultures, which have reinvigorated classical music and expanded its audience.

The January 14 concert is scheduled for 7:30 PM at First Baptist Church, 1600 South 8th Street in Fernandina Beach. Tickets for the general public will go on sale October 1 at or by calling 904-261-1779.

Mr. Ma’s performance is made possible in part by CBC National Bank’s Festival sponsorship. Christopher Rex, the Festival’s general and artistic director, said, “We deeply appreciate CBC’s sponsorship, which helped make it possible to bring an artist of Yo-Yo Ma’s international stature to Amelia Island. CBC’s relationship with our Festival extends back 15 years to our inaugural season when the bank became one of our first corporate sponsors. We are truly grateful for CBC’s ongoing support.” Headquartered in Fernandina Beach, CBC operates full-service branches in Beaufort and Port Royal, S.C.

Born to Chinese parents in Paris, Mr. Ma was a child prodigy and at age five gave his first public recital. He later moved to New York with his family and made his Carnegie Hall debut at age nine. He studied at the Juilliard School under cellists Leonard Rose and János Scholz. He subsequently sought a traditional liberal arts education to expand upon his conservatory training, graduating from Harvard University in 1976 with a degree in humanities.

Mr. Ma initially was celebrated for performances and recordings of the classical cello repertoire. In addition to recitals, he frequently performed as part of a trio with pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Young-Uck Kim and as part of a quartet with Ax and violinists Isaac Stern and Jaime Laredo. Mr. Ma and Ax received high acclaim for their recordings of the sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven and Johannes Brahms. Of special interest to Mr. Ma are the six suites for unaccompanied cello by Johann Sebastian Bach, challenging masterpieces that were some of the first music he learned to play as a young boy. He recorded the suites in 1983 and again in 1998. Accompanying the latter release was a series of six films that interpreted Bach’s suites. Mr. Ma collaborated on the project with artists from such varied disciplines as choreography, landscape architecture, ice skating, film directing, and Kabuki theatre.

In addition to the traditional repertoire, Mr. Ma has recorded with jazz, bluegrass and tango artists. He also played on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), the sound track recording for the movie of the same name, and in 2003 he collaborated with Latin American musicians on Obrigado Brazil. Another collaborative effort with progressive bluegrass musicians resulted in the critically acclaimed recording The Goat Rodeo Sessions in 2011.

One of Mr. 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. Toward that end, he founded in 1998 the Silk Road Project, an arts organization that initially focused on exploring the cultural traditions along the Silk Road, an ancient trading route that linked China with the West. Soon thereafter he established the Silk Road Ensemble, and the group’s first recording, Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet, was released in 2002. The project’s scope subsequently expanded, using the Silk Road as a metaphor for connecting artistic endeavors worldwide and across cultures. He has taken time to immerse himself in subjects as diverse as native Chinese music with its distinctive instruments and the music of the Kalahari bush people in Africa.

Mr. Ma is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), an honorary doctorate in music from Harvard (1991), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010). In 2011, he was recognized as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Appointed a CultureConnect Ambassador by the United States Department of State in 2002, Mr. Ma has trained and mentored thousands of students worldwide in countries including Lithuania, Korea, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and China. Mr. Ma also serves as a UN Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities. He has performed for eight American presidents. In 2010, he was appointed the first-ever creative consultant for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Ma plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.

Planning for the Festival’s 2016 season is still underway, but thus far several highly acclaimed artists are scheduled: two performances by the Dover Quartet, the Festival’s Quartet-in-Residence; superstar mandolinist Chris Thile, who will replace Garrison Keillor as host of A Prairie Home Companion in 2016; violinist Anne Akiko Meyers; the American String Quartet; and the Christiania Trio, consisting of violinist David Coucheron, pianist Julie Coucheron and cellist Christopher Rex. Visit to keep updated on the 2016 schedule.

About the AICMF
Celebrating its 15th anniversary season in 2016, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival has become one of the most prestigious music events of its kind in the Southeast. The Festival is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival
Joe Marasco, 904-261-1779
Executive Director

Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival