This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest is Yo-Yo Ma, along with his cello, which he'll be playing. He's the most famous contemporary cellist and perhaps the most revered in the U.S. His best-known recordings are of the Bach Solo Cello Suites, which he's recorded three times - in 1983, 1997 and 2018. He's performed with orchestras around the world, but lots of people who pay no attention to classical music know Yo-Yo Ma because he's performed in so many different settings. He's played American folk and bluegrass music, and he's played music from around the world with the Silk Road Ensemble, which he founded. He appeared on "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," "Sesame Street," and "The Simpsons." On the first anniversary of 9/11, at the ceremony held at Ground Zero, he performed one of the Bach Cello Suites. More recently, he played at the memorial for the seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen who were feeding people trapped in Gaza.

He started playing cello at age 4, and by the time he was 7, he performed at an event attended by President Kennedy and former President Dwight Eisenhower, where Yo-Yo Ma was introduced by Leonard Bernstein. In 2011, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama. That's one of the many honors he's received, including 19 Grammys. His latest album is called "Beethoven For Three." I spoke with Yo-Yo Ma earlier this month at an event held at WHYY, where FRESH AIR is produced, when he received WHYY's annual Lifelong Learning Award.

The only honor greater than having Yo-Yo Ma here tonight is having Yo-Yo Ma with his cello here tonight.

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