Where will Pandemic Lead Us to…Yo-Yo Ma

Ma Yo-Yo
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25: Yo-Yo Ma performs on SiriusXM's Symphony Hall hosted by David Srebnik at SiriusXM Washington D.C. Studios on June 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

The original text is in Chinese. It is published in World Journal
By 金山人語/人生並非樣樣都是生意
黃美惠 2020-11-26 02:05

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma told NHK World that 2020 is the year he has spent most of his time at home after 43 years of marriage. If you count the days, he’s been away from home for 27 of his 43 years, running around the earth, holding concerts, and recording CDs. In 2020, he stayed at home to avoid the epidemic. It seems that he is anticipating retirement and taking a full year of sabbatical vacation after six years of teaching. “I never know what a normal life is.” He told the reporter.

Yo-Yo Ma has a busy schedule all the time. When his son was young, he thought his father worked at the airport because he always saw his father carrying a cello on the way home and the airport. Mr. Ma, 65 years old now, said the outbreak had made it impossible for anyone to go anywhere, so he was able to answer letters and chat with neighbors at home, all of which are new experiences.

Still, Yo-Yo Ma has not been taking it easy and relaxing this year. On March 13, he took to Twitter to announce a simple goal: to share soothing music.” In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort. The first piece is #SongsOfComfort: Dvořák – “Going Home,” he said.

Thus began the Songs Of Comfort, which was so resounding that millions of people worldwide received the musicians’ relay of comfort. Looking back on the beautiful journey of more than eight months in NHK, Yo-Yo Ma picked up his cello in his study at home and played a part in “Going Home,” which brought tears to reporters’ eyes; and also made the audience burst into tears.

The most moving part of the interview was a passage written by Yo-Yo Ma. The reporter asked him, his usual concert invitations are full, the records are selling big with multiple Grammy Award winnings, and now he plays for free on the internet. Isn’t that a loss of income?

“Not everything in the world is a transaction,” Ma explained, “People can’t just always look at money. Many of the most important things can’t put a price, such as people’s dignity, decency, and even civic-mindedness. They shouldn’t be something that you and I have to spend money to buy.” He said that his value does not lie in being a “brand.”

At this critical time of the epidemic, he thinks about what he can do, not what he can’t. Indeed, if everyone feels that the current challenges are too great and one’s strength is too small, so everyone does nothing but wait for someone else to come out to do the job for them as a result. Thus we don’t take action and work together; then, the threshold will be hard to cross.

Yes, in the mind of Yo-Yo Ma -Music is not a transaction. It is a service. He has been giving back with his music during these hard and stressful times.
Using the hashtag #SongsOfComfort, this admirable musician has been tweeting recordings of himself playing the cello and playing with other musicians hoping to bring joy to those on the frontlines fighting the covid-19 virus and to those who are staying at home.

May the music bring you joy and peace.


大提琴家馬友友對NHK World(英語台)說,2020年是他43年婚姻,在家待最久的一年。如果依照日數統計,43年婚姻當中,他有27年都不在家,繞著地球跑,開演奏會和錄CD。2020年他居家避疫,如同預嘗退休的滋味,又好像教書六年後的一整年sabbatical休假,他說:「我其實從不知正常生活是什麼。」


其實馬友友今年沒有閒著。3月13日,他上推特公布一個簡單的目標:分享能夠安慰人的音樂。第一首就是德弗札克新世界交響曲裡耳熟能詳的「念故鄉( Going Home)」。他說:「大家都極焦慮的日子,我想找個方法繼續分享能讓我身心安頓的曲子。」



「我一直認為人生並非樣樣事都是一筆交易(Not everything in the world is a transaction.)」馬友友說,人不能總是在看錢,很多最重要的事其實無法貼上標價,「比如說人的尊嚴(dignity)、高尚(decency),乃至公民意識(civic mindedness),都不該是你我必須花錢去買的。」他說他自己的價值並不在於是一個「品牌」。



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