Born in Paris and raised in New York, cellist Yo-Yo Ma is one of the world's most famous classical musicians. But with his latest CD "The Goat Rodeo Sessions," Ma tackles a different genre: Americana. The record is a collaborative effort with fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile. Ma, 56, has won several Grammy Awards. He has also been honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Ma resides with his wife in Cambridge, Mass.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Years and years ago, my wife and I went to Charleston, S.C., for the Spoleto Festival. We fell in love with the town itself and had a wonderful time discovering islands like Seabrook and Kiawah. I have such fond memories of that trip and the people we met.
Q. Where would you like to spend more time?
A. Someday I hope to spend some time exploring the Pacific Northwest -- Portland, the fishing in Eugene, the beautiful islands around Seattle and the wineries.
Q. You've traveled so much in your career. In what areas have you seen the biggest changes?
A. I was in the Soviet Union in the early '80s and then back there after Glasnost. The changes were really striking. It was the same soulful people, but the circumstances around them had completely changed. South America has changed a lot, too. I think the way that the Internet diminishes great distances has really had an impact there. Pre-Internet I could feel the continental distances between countries. Now ideas flow in a different cross-border way, especially between young people. It's exciting to see that change.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I lived in New York City as a kid and it's fun to go back now and play tourist, whether we're going to the theater, seeing an opera or checking out a museum. Also, Maine. We were just there for the wedding of the daughter of our dear friends. I love the rocky terrain and the rich and changing American traditions in the Bar Harbor area.
Q. In what city did you have your first concert?
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