Press Release

American Academy of Arts & Sciences Presents Scholar-Patriot Award to Yo-Yo Ma


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The American Academy of Arts and Sciences presented the Scholar-Patriot Award to acclaimed cellist and humanist Yo-Yo Ma in recognition of his lifetime achievements as a musician, educator, and champion of multicultural understanding.

The Scholar-Patriot Award is one of the 230-year-old Academy’s most prestigious honors, given for extraordinary contributions of individuals who share the founders' vision of service.

Academy President Leslie Cohen Berlowitz and Chair Louis W. Cabot presented the award on March 23, 2011 at a private solo performance by Ma at the Academy’s Cambridge headquarters.

“The motto of the American Academy is ‘Cherishing Knowledge, Shaping the Future’ and Yo-Yo Ma exemplifies these ideals,” said President Berlowitz. “Through his solo and collaborative interpretations of Bach and other masters, he has reinterpreted and enriched the classical tradition. And by drawing on diverse genres and cultures, he has added profoundly to the musical vocabulary of this generation.” Berlowitz also noted Ma’s extensive educational work, including his training and mentorship of thousands of youth around the world and his innovative Silk Road Project.

Ma was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993. He currently serves as a member of the Academy’s national Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences ( is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on science and technology policy; global security; social policy; the humanities and culture; and education. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,300 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business and public affairs from around the world.