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Yo-Yo Ma quotes

My involvement in the political arena is to make sure there's a place for culture.

Once something is memorable, it's living and you're using it. That to me is the foundation of a creative society.

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks.

People will ask, 'Are you famous?' And I always answer, 'My mother thinks so.'

There's a part of me that's always charging ahead. I'm the curious kid, always going to the edge.

We may be coming to a new golden age of instrument making.

When we have a good balance between thinking and feeling... our actions and lives are always the richer for it.

With every year of playing, you want to relax one more muscle. Why? Because the more tense you are, the less you can hear.

You go through phases. You have to reinvent reasons for playing, and one year's answer might not do for another.

I love grocery shopping when I'm home. That's what makes me feel totally normal. I love both the idea of home as in being with my family and friends, and also the idea of exploration. I think those two are probably my great interests.

I've been traveling all over the world for 25 years, performing, talking to people, studying their cultures and musical instruments, and I always come away with more questions in my head than can be answered.

One is that you have to take time, lots of time, to let an idea grow from within. The second is that when you sign on to something, there will be issues of trust, deep trust, the way the members of a string quartet have to trust one another.

A composition is always more than the sum of its parts. In other words, a really good piece of music is more than itself. It's sort of like a prism, which you can see from each facet a single totality.

As a child, you respond physically, tactically. You're delighted by sound, you're delighted by recognizing something. It's like hide and seek. Is it there? Is it not there? Is it this note? Is it not this note? It's one fantastic game.

Children, in a way, are constant learners. Certainly sponge-like. Absorbing everything without careful analysis, even though, at the same time, they are certainly capable of incredible insights.

I really would like to be involved in things and to understand things, and in some ways you've got to be careful what you wish for because I feel very, very blessed to have such an interesting life and to be able to have little snapshots of lives of people from many different parts of the world.

I think all musicians have at one time or another experienced one physical problem or another. I have had tendinitis a couple of times, so I try to be really careful. It takes patience and persistence to overcome injury.

I think of a piece of music as something that comes alive when it is being performed, and I feel that my role in the transmission of music is to be its best advocate at that moment.

I think the purpose of a piece of music is significant when it actually lives in somebody else. A composer puts down a code, and a performer can activate the code in somebody else. Once it lives in somebody else, it can live in others as well.

I'm not likely to forget where I've been and what I've done and learned. I think it's just as important to play new instruments as to play new pieces. The old ones are getting scarcer and the new ones more and more wonderful.