Krannert welcomes cellist Yo-Yo Ma

By Susan Kantor

The last time world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma played at the University in 1987, most undergraduate students were not even enrolled in grade school. Before that, Ma had not played at the University since 1981. Michael Ross, director of the Krannert Center, has been working with Ma’s management to schedule a performance since Ross first acquired this position eight years ago.

Tonight Ma makes his return to the Krannert Center with his performance of Bach’s Cello Suites, No. 3, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. This will be one of three U.S. solo recitals this season, according to a press release on the Krannert Center’s Web site.

“Yo-Yo Ma is a very fine artist,” said Tammey Kikta, Krannert Center’s public information director. “We have been interested in him for many years, and we are glad we got him this season.”

Tickets for this event went on sale last May when the season brochure for the Krannert Center was released. The bulk of the tickets were gone within two months. “Hot seats” were specifically held back for students but were also gone before the school year began this fall.

The choral balcony, in Krannert’s Foellinger Great Hall, will be open for the performance. Some patrons will be sitting behind Ma, but the sound will still be beautiful Kikta said.

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    “The excellence of his performance is head and shoulders above other performers,” said Maureen Reagan, assistant director for marketing and patron services for the Krannert Center. “He is in the top echelon of performers. With the appeal he has, people relate to him.”

    Ma will also be appearing at Boardman’s Art Theatre, 126 W. Church St., in Champaign Friday with choreographer Mark Morris. Ma collaborated with Morris on the film “Falling Down Stairs.” The film presents the work of Ma and Morris on a project titled “Inspired by Bach.” The film will demonstrate what different artists go through in the creative process Reagan said. The Mark Morris Dance Group will be performing at the Krannert Center Saturday and Sunday.

    “Yo-Yo Ma will introduce the movie and do a question and answer with the audience,” said Allison Dietz, manager for Boardman’s Art Theatre.

    This is an opportunity for people to interact with Ma in a different setting than a concert. Tickets for the event at Boardman’s were free but were gone within a few hours Dietz said.

    “His artistry has touched so many varieties of music,” Kikta said. “He has such an incredible curiosity and passion for music. It is great to have him here.”