Yo-Yo Ma played an encore and addressed the audience with a call for peace after performing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the New York Philharmonic. Photo by Chris Lee.

“After a rousing performance of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto with the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday, the celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma returned to the stage for an encore,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Thursday’s (3/2) New York Times. “Rather than rush into a familiar crowd-pleaser, Ma began speaking from the stage of David Geffen Hall to the sold-out crowd. He explained the work he would play: ‘Song of the Birds,’ a Catalonian folk song that was a favorite of the eminent cellist Pablo Casals, who performed it as a call for peace and to evoke his native Catalonia, which he had fled when he went into exile after the Spanish Civil War.…‘The Elgar Cello Concerto was written in 1919, right after the Great War—the Great War that we said would never happen again,’ Ma told the audience … In a telephone interview, Ma said his aim was to remind people of their shared humanity at a time when there is so much strife and suffering in the world, including in Ukraine…. Ma said that music was a way of coping ‘in a world where we have both empathy deficit and empathy fatigue.’ ” Daniela Candillari led the concert, which included Missy Mazzoli’s River Rouge Transformation and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8.