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Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Surprises Students With Interpretation Of Jay-Z And Alicia Keys’ ‘Empire State Of Mind’

Maximum Performance

Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble had a surprise in placelast June when they performed with hundreds of elementary school students at New York's American Museum Of NaturalHistory.

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The Grammy award winning cellist is known for his orchestralworks so he and the Silk Road Ensemble caught the students from the Bronx, Brooklyn,Manhattan and Queensoff guard when they closed their performance with a classical rendition ofJay-Z and Alicia Keys' hit "Empire State Of Mind."

Yo-Yo Ma has released footage of the Connect Live! eventthat shows the kids exploding with excitement when the performance takes ahip-hop turn.


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They chose to splice the rap ballad into the program becausethey thought the kids would love it, says Cristin Bagnall, Silk Road Projectboard member. "Yo-Yo's experience has been that if he can go into the world ofa young person, that interaction can have deep and lasting impact," saysBagnall. "So, it was important to him that the Silk Road Connect culminatingevent include music already beloved by the kids."

Yo-Yo Ma founded the Silk Road Project, a nonprofit,multi-year, multidisciplinary arts educational initiative for sixth graders.


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