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Yo-Yo Ma's New Album, "J.S. Bach: 6 Suites For Unaccompanied Cello – The 1983 Sessions"

Released on Sony Classical, the album celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1983 recordings

Sony Classical has released Yo-Yo Ma's 1983 recordings of all 6 Unaccompanied Bach Suites. The new album, J.S. Bach: 6 Suites for Unaccompanied Cello – The 1983 Sessions, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the original recordings with three newly-pressed picture discs enclosed in a tri-fold jacket featuring exclusive, never-before-seen photos from the original recording session as well as an essay by its producer, Richard Einhorn.

J.S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello has been a source of inspiration for Yo-Yo Ma since he learned the first notes of Suite No. 1 at age four. The 1983 edition was his first recording of the suites, serving as a pivotal moment in his career.

J.S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, composed between 1717 and 1723, have been at the pinnacle of the solo cello repertoire ever since Pablo Casals rediscovered and began performing them well over a century ago.

Across three recordings released by Sony Classical and dozens of live performances worldwide, the suites have become a kind of artistic signature for Ma, who won the first of his 19 GRAMMY® Awards for the 1983 recording.

Though Ma has recorded the suites twice more, it was this 1983 recording that confirmed to the world the singular breadth, depth, and promise of his artistry.


Listen to Yo-Yo Ma perform J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 below

To purchase and listen to the album, click here.


Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and three years later moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies at the Juilliard School before pursuing a liberal arts education at Harvard. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), the Polar Music Prize (2012), and the Birgit Nilsson Prize (2022). He has performed for nine American presidents, most recently on the occasion of President Biden’s inauguration.

Recently, Yo-Yo began Our Common Nature, a cultural journey to celebrate the ways that nature can reunite us in pursuit of a shared future. Our Common Nature follows the Bach Project, a 36-community, six-continent tour of J.S. Bach’s cello suites paired with local cultural programming. Both endeavors reflect Yo-Yo’s lifelong commitment to stretching the boundaries of genre and tradition to understand how music helps us to imagine and build a stronger society.


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