Category Archives: Music

Yo-Yo Ma

Standard
Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma was born in October 7, 1955, to Chinese parents living in Paris. His mother, Marina Lu, was a singer and his father, Hiao-Tsiun Ma, was a violinist and professor of music at Nanjing National Central University.

He began playing the cello with his father at age four. Three years later, his family moved to New York City, and he continued his cello studies at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he attended Harvard University, graduating with a degree in anthropology in 1976.

C42900-13

10/6/1987 President Reagan Nancy Reagan Crown Prince Akihito and Crown Princess Michiko listen to Yo-Yo Ma perform in the Yellow Oval Room during a private dinner for Crown Prince Akihito of Japan

Prior to entering Harvard, Ma played in the Marlboro Festival Orchestra under the direction of cellist and conductor Pablo Casals. There he met and fell in love with festival administrator Jill Hornor. They married in 1978.

Ma has performed with many of the world’s major orchestras. He has also played chamber music, often with the pianist Emanuel Ax, with whom he has a close friendship from their days together at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.

Ma has an eclectic repertoire which include Baroque pieces; American bluegrass music; traditional Chinese melodies, including the soundtrack to the film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon; the tangos of Argentinian composer Ástor Piazzolla; Brazilian music; a collaboration with Bobby McFerrin; as well as the work of modern minimalist Philip Glass.

Ma formed the Silk Road Ensemble, bringing together musicians from diverse countries historically linked via the Silk Road, the famous route which for more than two thousand years was used for trade, notably spices, all the way across Europe and Asia to China. He also founded the Silk Road Connect, involving children from middle schools in the United States.

Yo-Yo_Ma_-_World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_Davos_2008_(cropped)

Photo from the World Economic Forum; cropped

Ma is known for his smooth, rich tone as well as his virtuosity, and his humble spirit and humanitarianism. He has recorded more than 90 albums and received 18 Grammy Awards.

Video of the Week #154: When One Guitar Just Isn’t Enough

Standard

#ALP: Bird

Standard
#ALP: Bird

What’s your favorite bird: humming? owl? robin? parakeet? Big Bird?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
  • If you’d like to share a blog post (G-rated, please, and sensitive to the feelings of others—anything slightly objectionable will be deleted), create a pingback or leave a link in the comments below.
  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

#ALP: Pain

Standard
#ALP: Pain

What’s the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, physical or emotional? How do you deal with pain? How has pain shaped the person you are today?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
  • If you’d like to share a blog post (G-rated, please, and sensitive to the feelings of others—anything slightly objectionable will be deleted), create a pingback or leave a link in the comments below.
  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

#ALP: Favorite Song

Standard
#ALP: Favorite Song

What’s the song you’ll always associate with the one you love, or your college days, or the home you grew up in? What song always changes your mood for the better? Do you prefer show tunes, operatic arias, country and western?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
  • If you’d like to share a blog post (G-rated, please, and sensitive to the feelings of others—anything slightly objectionable will be deleted), create a pingback or leave a link in the comments below.
  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

#ALP: Best Friend

Standard
#ALP: Best Friend

Who is your longest standing friend? What makes a good friend? What would you do for your friend?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
  • If you’d like to share a blog post (G-rated, please, and sensitive to the feelings of others—anything slightly objectionable will be deleted), create a pingback or leave a link in the comments below.
  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

#ALP: Disaster

Standard
#ALP: Disaster

Have you ever experienced a natural disaster? Earthquake, flood, tornado, volcanic eruption, wildfire? Did you ever have something turn out differently than you’d planned, and not for the better? Bad hair day, open mic bomb, student teaching observation?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
  • If you’d like to share a blog post (G-rated, please, and sensitive to the feelings of others—anything slightly objectionable will be deleted), create a pingback or leave a link in the comments below.
  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

#ALP: Dessert

Standard
#ALP: Dessert

When my husband and I go out to dinner, we never order dessert–we’re invariably too full. What’s your favorite? Vanilla ice cream? Peach cobbler? Jelly beans?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
  • If you’d like to share a blog post (G-rated, please, and sensitive to the feelings of others—anything slightly objectionable will be deleted), create a pingback or leave a link in the comments below.
  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

#ALP: Flower

Standard
#ALP: Flower

What’s your favorite–rose? Orchid? Queen Anne’s lace? What attracts you to a flower–fragrance? Color? Nothing?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
  • If you’d like to share a blog post (G-rated, please, and sensitive to the feelings of others—anything slightly objectionable will be deleted), create a pingback or leave a link in the comments below.
  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

Shel Silverstein

Standard
Shel Silverstein

One of my favorite poet/illustrators is Shel Silverstein (1930-1999). I find his rhymes and accompanying drawings delightful. They were enjoyed by my husband’s elementary school students and by our five kids, and adults and children alike.

Not only did he write poems and draw illustrations and cartoons, he also composed songs and wrote plays.

Preparing to write this article, I could only find two volumes of his in my well-organized (—not!) library: The Giving Tree and A Light in the Attic. I’m sure we had more; who knows where they went.

IMG_0502

From A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.

The Giving Tree is a picture book. It tells the story of a tree who loves a boy and over the years gives herself to him completely. I interpret it as a metaphor for mothering.

A Light in the Attic is a collection of poetry. I’m sure we also had Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.  As someone who writes poetry and most often defaults to free verse, I am impressed by the quality of Silverstein’s rhymes. Sometimes he takes liberties (like rhyming water with oughtter), but the rhymes never feel forced or contrived.

IMG_0504

From A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.

Silverstein’s whimsical illustrations remind me a bit of Dr. Suess, in that they are in turns amusing and a little nightmarish.

I remember three of his songs in particular, though I forgot (if I ever even knew) that he wrote them. “A Boy Named Sue” earned him a Grammy.

That one and this one, “The Unicorn,” got way too much airtime during my high school years. (Enough to almost make me think unicorns are dorky. Almost, but not quite.)

One song I love and that I sang with my kindergarten students when I taught music:

His work remains popular today. The Shel Silverstein website has resources for teachers to inspire their student poets, writers, and artists.

 

SaveSave