Yo-Yo Ma (mä), 1955–, American cellist, b. Paris. The son of musicologist Hiao-Tsun Ma, who left China in the 1930s, he was a musical prodigy, giving a public recital in Paris at the age of six. In 1963 he and his family settled in New York City, where he began attending the Julliard School of Music at the age of nine. He later studied at Harvard. Ma appeared at Carnegie Hall in 1964 and won the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize in 1978. One of the era's premier string players, he continues to appear as a soloist with many of the world's best orchestras and is a superlative chamber player and frequent recital performer. Ma is acclaimed for his extraordinarily broad repertoire, ravishing tone, superb musicianship, and dazzling technique, and is noted for his seeming state of passionate transport while performing. In 1998 Ma founded the Silk Road Project, a cross-cultural musical enterprise that includes concerts, festivals, recordings, publications, and the commissioning of new works.