Cellist Yo-Yo Ma to do ‘Berkeley Talks’ at Zellerbach

Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma (UC Berkeley photo by Todd Rosenberg)

As a student, Rachel Keynton’s experience with the arts at UC Berkeley illustrates the many cultural opportunities the campus offers students, staff and faculty. The concept of becoming a cultural citizen is the topic of the latest “Berkeley Talks” event this Wednesday (Dec. 10) with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

“Berkeley Talks” is a series of conversations hosted by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks featuring some of the leading thinkers of our time, and is co-presented by Cal Performances.

When she began attending Berkeley in 2008, Keynton brought a love of music with her that had been nurtured since the age of 5. She performed as the principal cellist in the University Orchestra, which is open to community members and students, joining in master classes with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during one of its residencies at Zellerbach Hall.

“I thought Cal had so much to offer,” said Keynton, who wanted to explore the arts as part of her college experience and is double-majoring in music as well as science and the environment. “Berkeley is a great place to experience the arts.”

A highlight of her time at Berkeley was when she took her cello on stage at the Greek Theatre to perform a sound check for Cal Performances the night before a sold-out Yo-Yo Ma concert, meeting the charismatic musician for a conversation the evening before he took the stage.

On Wednesday night, Ma will share his views on the vital role of the arts and sciences in contemporary culture, and how society’s response can be a transformative force in creating “cultural citizens.” Ma will illustrate his position on the benefits and challenges of this topic with music and examples of his phenomenal success. He will be joined on stage by Cristina Pato, a virtuoso of the Galican bagpipes.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. event at Zellerbach Hall start at $26 and are available for purchase at Cal Performances. Discounts are available for students, faculty and staff.