Yo-Yo Ma is Devoting the Rest of His Life To…
June 12, 2019 In: Sound Bits
In a recent conversation at Harvard University, Yo-Yo Ma said he is devoting the rest of his life to thinking about the social impact of music. It’s a bold statement, but one that fits within the music ambassador’s mission of bringing people together through music.
After we just talked here a couple of weeks ago about the future of orchestras, this begs the question: must orchestras make a significant effort to create positive social impact through their work in order to thrive in the coming years? Is Ma right in his assertion that “it’s never art for art’s sake,” or is the music alone sufficient to reach people and create change?
I tend to agree with Ma – “we have a bigger purpose,” and we don’t create art in a vacuum. We create and present music in a complicated world that needs not just our music, but also our citizenship as artists. I love the terms “citizen musician” and “citizen artist” and I believe that music schools are training “citizen musicians” who are not only excellent practitioners of their craft, but also sensitive and educated citizens that can effect change in the 21st century.