The Classical Music Minute

What Happened When John Williams Met Yo-Yo Ma?

November 14, 2022 Steven Hobé, Composer & Host Season 1 Episode 85
The Classical Music Minute
What Happened When John Williams Met Yo-Yo Ma?
Show Notes Transcript

John Williams is of course known for his Hollywood blockbuster orchestral music. But has also composed many incredible works, including his cello concerto for famed cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. Take a minute to get the scoop!

Cello Concerto: I. Theme & Cadenza ℅ YouTube

Fun Fact
Williams has composed for a staggering number of critically acclaimed and popular movies, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the first two Home Alone films, the Indiana Jones films, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Seven Years In Tibet, and the first three Harry Potter films.

About Steven, Host
Steven is a Canadian composer living in Toronto. He creates a range of works, with an emphasis on the short-form genre—his muse being to offer the listener both the darker and more satiric shades of human existence. If you're interested, please check out his website for more. Member of the Canadian League Of Composers.

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John Williams first met Yo-Yo Ma during his days with the Boston Pops and a friendship flourished. 
From their first encounters, each recognized in the other an understanding that, as Williams simply puts it, “music is our oxygen.”
As Williams reflects, “I’d already learned about this wunderkind who played cello, and was very excited to meet him when he came to the Boston Pops for one of our television recordings. 
I was enormously impressed with this fantastically mature art from such a young person.” Williams went on to compose in 1994 his Cello Concerto expressly for Ma, trying to capture the many personalities of the young cellist. 
Williams said that he “cast the cello in ‘a kind of hero’s role’, but the hero the music conjures for me is no Hollywood figure but rather Don Quixote”.