One of the world’s most celebrated musicians, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, gave an impromptu mini-concert on Saturday at a vaccination site in Massachusetts.
After receiving his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, instead of resting during the 15-minute observation period, Ma brought his cello to play Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, Prélude — while wearing a mask.
He “wanted to give something back,” Richard Hall of the Berkshire Covid-19 Vaccine Collaborative told The Berkshire Eagle.
This post-vaccination performance came exactly one year to the day after he first posted on Twitter his #SongsOfComfort. On this, the great cellist shared a recording of himself playing Dvorak in order to reassure an anxious public as lockdowns began in the United States and elsewhere. It started a trend and other professional musicians collaborated with him, growing the project into much more as amateur musicians joined in too. In December 2020, together with British pianist Kathryn Stott Ma released “Songs of Comfort and Hope,” an album that was inspired by the project.
He also did a series of pop-up performances on a flatbed truck with equally renowned pianist Emanuel Ax for essential works in his Berkshire region (where he lives part of the year) including bus drivers, firefighters, and health care providers.
“People need each other for support beyond the immediate staples of life,” Ma told The New York Times in November. “They need music.”