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Yo-Yo Ma quotes

It took me way beyond what I knew, into places of which I was totally scared, but as I became less frightened, I welcomed new ways of thinking and approaching something. It made me an infinitely richer person, and I think a better musician.

It's easy for me to care about Toronto, because Toronto is a community that cares about itself. It represents the world. It talks to itself, and because it does, it figures out that there must be a music garden as part of its existence.

Many of the Central Asians know Russian, and Ted Levin speaks it fluently. I speak Chinese, but Mongolian is completely different, so we had to have translators.

Mastering music is more than learning technical skills. Practicing is about quality, not quantity. Some days I practice for hours; other days it will be just a few minutes.

Music has always been transnational; people pick up whatever interests them, and certainly a lot of classical music has absorbed influences from all over the world.

My teacher, my great cello teacher Leonard Rose, was such a great cellist, and nurturing man, very patient. But I grew up not only admiring him, but obviously Casals, Rostrotovich, Jacqueline du Pre, and many others, including many of my peers and contemporaries.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film project was collaborating with so many people - directors, filmmakers, and writers - over a five-year period. I learned that there are two components to this.

Practicing is not only playing your instrument, either by yourself or rehearsing with others - it also includes imagining yourself practicing. Your brain forms the same neural connections and muscle memory whether you are imagining the task or actually doing it.

Sound is ephemeral, fleeting, but some sort of a physical manifestation can help you hold on to it longer in time. I'm sure of this; I've always thought the sound that you make is just the tip of the iceberg, like the person that you see physically is just the tip of the iceberg as well.

The thing that I've always been slightly frustrated with, was that the idea of a CD is kind of confined to a material possession that you can put on a shelf. And the idea of music, for me, is always about both the communication and the sharing of content. And so the interactive part is missing.

The tradition of classical music and the opera is such that it used to be the place where social intercourse could take place between all parts of society: politicians, industrialists, artists, citizens, etc. That tradition, I think, still exists, but it's much, much more diluted.

There are limits to how much sound a cello can make. That's part of the framing of acoustical instruments. Finding what those limits might be, and then trying to suggest perhaps even the illusion of going beyond is part of that kind of effort.

What came up at age 49 is I realized that of all the things I'm interested in, the thing I'm most interested in is figuring out what makes people tick, why people think the way they do, why they act the way they do. And I realized that music is such a great way to investigate why people do what they do.

You know, you can have someone who's the very best at something, but if there's not that kind of chemistry, collaborating is not going to amount to anything.