Yo-Yo Ma plays surprise concert at vaccination centre


Renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma (above) brought a classical music treat to those getting their Covid-19 vaccination last Saturday.

He was at the Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, with his wife Jill Hornor to get his second jab when a nurse spotted his cello.

When asked if he could play something for those who were waiting during the 15-minute observation period after getting the shot, the 65-year-old musician gladly obliged.

During his impromptu concert, he played a selection of recognisable classical pieces, including Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 In G Major, Prelude and Franz Schubert's Ave Maria.

Since the start of the pandemic, Ma has been using mellow cello tunes to bring comfort to music lovers with his Songs Of Comfort series online.

In March last year, he wrote on Twitter: "In these days of anxiety, I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort."

Last Saturday's surprise performance was not his first during the pandemic.

In September last year, he played a series of concerts from the back of a truck with pianist Emanuel Ax for essential workers in the Berkshires region, where he lives part of the year.

He also released an album in December with pianist Kathryn Stott, titled Songs Of Comfort And Hope, with all royalties going to help other musicians who have been affected by the pandemic.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2021, with the headline 'Yo-Yo Ma plays surprise concert at vaccination centre'. Subscribe