Yo-Yo Ma & Company Fake It at the Inauguration


Did you watch the inauguration of Barack Obama this past Tuesday? I sure did, and watched with pride to see America inaugurating Barack Obama as President of the United States as well as such a high profile Asian American such as Yo-Yo Ma performing in the ceremony; I can only imagine what the feeling was like to be on the Mall that day.

I’m not sure if this is on the scale of 2008 Beijing Olympics singing of the national anthem scandal, but it was reported today in The New York Times that the actual performance by Yo-Yo Ma & company we heard on television was not live:

The somber, elegiac tones before President Obama’s oath of office at the inauguration on Tuesday came from the instruments of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two colleagues. But what the millions on the National Mall and watching on television heard was in fact a recording, made two days earlier by the quartet and matched tone for tone by the musicians playing along. The players and the inauguration organizing committee said the arrangement was necessary because of the extreme cold and wind during Tuesday’s ceremony.

I guess I can understand – it was pretty freakin cold in Washington, D.C. I had heard earlier that Yo-Yo Ma wasn’t playing his usual cello (which is made out of wood and several hundred years old) due to the cold – the one he was playing was made out of carbon fiber. Still, does the public need to be duped? I mean, if a string did break, then it would have been obvious and embarrassing to see the cello music go on. (See Ashley Simpson.)

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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