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Aspen Institute names Yo-Yo Ma its artist in residence

Yo-Yo Ma
Denver Journal

The Aspen Institute Arts Program on Monday announced that world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma will serve as its 2013 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence.

In this role, Mr. Ma will participate at the Aspen Ideas Festival from June 24 to June 29 and engage in Institute activities throughout the year in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the country.

Ma has been integral to several key moments in the history of the Aspen Institute Arts Program since its inception in June 2011.

Most recently, Ma participated in the inaugural Aspen Arts Strategy Group, discussing his involvement with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Citizen Musician movement and his work with Silk Road Connect, the renowned arts integration program he founded. Joined by Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel, Ma also hosted the culminating event of the convening — a discussion and demonstration of “Citizen Artistry,” and ways the arts can enrich society through education and community engagement.

While in Aspen this summer, Ma will convene a symposium with invited conductors and music directors of several of the nation’s foremost symphony orchestras, and will lead a Festival pre-session on music and community mobilizing in the 21st century.

"As a musician, I'm trained to do two things at the same time: work toward a goal larger than myself and pay attention to the smallest possible detail," Yo-Yo Ma said. "I think Citizen Artists engage their communities with a similar approach, asking, ‘What is the largest challenge facing my neighborhood, city or country?’ and ‘How can I, as an artist, contribute to a solution?’” 

The Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence program was inaugurated in July 2006.

Previous Harman-Eisner Artists in Residence have included director Julie Taymor, architect Elizabeth Diller, conductor Robert Spano, dancer and current Arts Program Director Damian Woetzel, author Tobias Wolff, painter Chuck Close, actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, stage director Stephen Wadsworth, and opera singer Jessye Norman.

“Yo-Yo Ma is not only a genius and a once-in-a-generation talent, but he is the perfect example of an artist willing to use his skills and gifts to help create a more compassionate country,” said Michael D. Eisner, Institute trustee and chair of its Committee on the Arts.