Not All Celebs Are Created Equal!

We had acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma on the program last night.  He’s in town to participate in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s RIVERS festival.   Also with him was Martha Gilmer, the CSO’s vice president for artistic planning.

I bet if most Americans had to name a famous cellist, the name most people would come up with would probably be Yo-Yo Ma.  Agree?

One of the benefits of this job is that I occasionally get to meet famous people of accomplishment.  But it’s risky to meet someone whose work you admire.  What if he or she turns out to be a jerk, prickly or full of themselves?  Then it becomes harder to like the person’s work and you’re deprived of that pleasure.

I won’t mention names, but I have encountered a few people of renown whose work has lost some of its luster after I met them in person.  (I know–I should be able to separate the art from the artist!)

This is a roundabout way of saying that in person, Yo-Yo Ma is gracious, friendly, personable and downright charming.  When you combine his human decency and good manners with a sharp mind and blazing talent–it’s no wonder he’s having a remarkable career and is in such demand.  There’s an old adage in business:  “People like doing business with people they like.”   I bet that’s true in any field, including music.

So go ahead and listen to Yo-Yo Ma’s music anytime.  Your pleasure should be enhanced knowing that underneath that sumptuous music is a great guy!  Here’s the interview in case you missed it:

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