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Colorado Springs Philharmonic hosts Yo-Yo Ma for 90th anniversary

February 22, 2017 Updated: February 22, 2017 at 5:33 pm
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Yo-Yo Ma rehearses for the swearing-in ceremony for the inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, Monday, Jan. 19, 2008 in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office as the 44th President on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

One of the most highly regarded musicians in the world will help the Colorado Springs Philharmonic celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform Edward Elgar's "Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 85" with the orchestra and conductor Josep Caballé-Domenech on Friday at Pikes Peak Center. Folks can call the box office and add their name to a waiting list for a chance at remaining tickets.

Ma has performed in the Springs several times through the years. His last visit was on the evening of Sept. 11, 2001.

"We're celebrating the 90th anniversary and I can't imagine a better way to do that than hosting the friend of every musician," said Nathan Newbrough, president and CEO of the philharmonic. "He's a glorious performer and famous for a reason, not only because of his outrageous talent but also because of the creativity and passion that drives him."

The first half of the philharmonic's performance will feature Gioachino Rossini's "Overture to The Barber of Seville," Manuel de Falla's "Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual Fire Dance)," Enric Palomar's "Danza, Cantiga y Finale" from Concerto for Orchestra, Johann Stauss II's "Overture to Der Zigeunerbaron - "The Gypsy Baron" and William Walton's "Crown Imperial - A Coronation March."

Ma's 2016 album "Sing Me Home," recorded with his Silk Road ensemble, earned him Grammy award No. 18 earlier this month. He's released more than 100 albums and received the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the 2014 Fred Rogers Legacy Award.

"Coming up with new superlatives for Ma at this point may seem like an exercise in futility, but because the cellist never gives a routine performance of anything, there is always something different to appreciate," wrote The Boston Globe critic David Weininger about Ma's performance of Elgar's piece with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in October. "Here one could marvel at how he could in an instant change the texture, phrasing, and vibrato of a single note, and with it the music's entire dramatic trajectory. Ma's sense of when to take the spotlight, when to lay back, and when to play just above silence is unmatched, and it was fully evident in a piece where it is all too easy for the soloist to dominate."

Ma began performing for audiences at age 5 and was introduced to the world at 7 when he played for Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

"He came of age as a prodigy but then has maintained a presence on the concert stage ever since," Newbrough said. "This is a distinctly varied and unique musician who has ventured out into new realms but stayed grounded in great works of orchestral music. All of this musicianship combined with his incredible charm have made a lasting impact on the world."

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