“In 1961, Pablo Casals played for John F. Kennedy at the White House,” writes Anne Midgette in Sunday’s (3/14) Washington Post. “The concert could be seen as a symbol of the importance of the arts to the Kennedy administration, or as a gesture of honor to a great cellist. But there’s no question, when the concert is re-created next year as part of the Kennedy Center’s tribute to the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s inauguration, about who will represent Casals. When there’s a commemorative event that calls for classical music, Yo-Yo Ma is almost sure to be the person playing it. … In every generation, a few musicians reach a level of fame that takes them into an orbit beyond their art. They become iconic, like Pavarotti; they become spokesmen, like Bono; they come, at the very least, to represent their field to a wider public. Ma, 54, has certainly reached this level. He’s one of the most recognizable classical musicians on the planet. Extroverted and smart, he’s a natural spokesman for the arts. … What’s distinctive about Ma is that he’s clearly continuing to develop as an artist, as if all his quasi-political activity is part of a larger continuum.”

Posted March 17, 2010