Yo-Yo Ma to perform at Penn State with longtime collaborator

Grammy winner Yo-Yo Ma will perform on Friday at Eisenhower Auditorium.
Grammy winner Yo-Yo Ma will perform on Friday at Eisenhower Auditorium. Photo provided

A blend of music and emotions will be on display at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium on Friday when Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays alongside pianist Kathryn Stott.

The duo’s collaboration will feature a variety of sounds and sonatas, all by early 20th-century Russian composers. From Igor Stravinsky’s high-tempo “Suite Italienne,” to Sergei Prokofiev’s more somber Sonata in C Major, there should be plenty of chances for Ma and Stott to showcase their world-renowned talents.

The pair began playing together in 1984, after meeting in the 1970s when Stott returned home to find Ma playing the cello in his underwear at her house, she told the Guardian in 2008. He rented the flat through his agent and, not knowing anyone else would be living there, made himself at home. “Luckily, we got along,” she said in a news release. The two have won two Grammys together over the years.

Stott is an accomplished musician in her own right. The British pianist is artistic director for the largest chamber music festival in the southern hemisphere, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Well known for her translations of French composers and contemporary classical compositions, Stott’s career got a kick start after she advanced as a finalist in the 1978 Leeds International Piano Competition.

Ma will put on display the skills that have launched his career and won him numerous awards, such as the 2011 Presidential Medal of Freedom and the 2001 National Medal of Arts. Ma has received 18 Grammys and recorded more than 100 albums in his career. He is also the founder of the Silk Road Ensemble — a collective of multinational musicians who hope to better the world by combining their music and cultures.

Friday’s concert marks Ma’s third performance at Penn State.

James Turchick is a Penn State journalism student.


  • What: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park
  • Info: www.cpa.psu.edu