Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Yo-Yo Ma

Posted August 2, 2007

How do you define greatness?  In music many would do so by uttering the name of the Yo-Yo Ma.  The incomparable cellist is recognized as one of the finest musicians in the world.

What an honor it was to interview him via satellite on WRAL's Noon News this week!  Valonda Calloway and I asked him about his career and latest album "New Impossibilities."  He was very gracious, interesting and charming in his answer.

But then I asked him about his desire to think and play outside the box.  Though classically trained Yo-Yo Ma is not a purist.  He loves to experiment with different genres of music.

At this point in the interview I was stunned when he started talking about my music with superlatives that I could only dream of.  Wow!  So much for the big worldwide ego.  Yo-Yo Ma turned the interview into a celebration of my music instead of his own.  I was shocked that he even knew who I was but as he put it:  "I know all about you."

How do you define greatness in terms of the human spirit?  Three syllables.  Yo-Yo Ma.  I have never interviewed a more generous and gracious person.  And he just happens to be one of  the most brilliant musicians on the planet.  He is a man of many, many gifts.


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  • drsickles Aug 5, 2007

    whoa ... that is so cool.

  • Wheelman Aug 3, 2007 be tha man!

  • Celt Aug 3, 2007

    Yo-Yo Ma is an amazing musician, isn't he? He is arguably one of the best cellists of the last century. But Bill, the great Yo-Yo Ma was simply confirming what we already knew about you and your talents. When I need to re-find my soul, I usually reach for one of your CDs.

  • thefensk Aug 3, 2007

    Wow, Bill, that is high praise indeed.

    Right up there with having a sandwich named after you, which has always been high on my list of measures of greatness.

  • mbsheisey Aug 3, 2007

    Wow!! Congratulations Bill!! Recognition from a musician like Yo Yo Ma is high praise indeed! I'm just sorry I missed the interview. He is definitely in a class by himself. How lucky you and Valonda were to have the opportunity to interview him.

  • blackdog Aug 3, 2007

    Yoyo Mas is one of the classiest musicians ever. He doesn't revel in himself and is down to earth as can be. His ability to command strings to vibrate exactly, is superior. He's a real class act !

  • Mtn Man Aug 3, 2007

    Bill - A little humility, maybe?

  • Legswilson Aug 3, 2007

    I saw the interview Bill and I was also amazed. Not that you're not good... just that he would know all about you. If you could have seen your face! You were glowing to say the least. Obviously, you're making your mark on the music world too. Maybe Yo-Yo will play on one of your albums some day.

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Bill Leslie