Yo-Yo Ma and friends go Latin at Smith Center

If you think of master cellist Yo-Yo Ma as strictly a classical musician, think again.

Tuesday night at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the multiple Grammy-winner joins British pianist Kathryn Stott , his longtime accompanist, and Brazil’s Assad Brothers – guitarists Sergio and Odair – will transport audiences with a program of Latin American music.

“We’ll be playing a wonderful selection of music, including some Piazzolla, Jobim, Villa-Lobos,” Stott emails from her home base in Britain, “but also by Sergio and Clarice Assad,” who is Sergio’s “very talented daughter. She has written a set of pieces entitled ‘Back to Our Roots’ and this has quite an Arabic flavour (with reference to their family roots), so provides the most exotic contrast to the Latino theme.”

Although Stott admits “there is a challenge with any music which falls out of one is used to,” she adds that “the initial challenges were all based on rhythm as each country has a different emphasis.” And while “getting that ‘under the skin’ took a little time initially … Yo-Yo and I have always worked with the most fantastic musicians you could ever wish to meet and they have generously shared their musical heritages with us and made us feel ‘at home’!” Stott and Ma have been musical collaborators since 1984 (they’ve been friends since 1978) and she attributes their longtime partnership to “great friendship, huge respect for each other as musicians, the will to evolve with each other over time, trust (and) humour!”

They’ll perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave. Tickets are $42-$141 and are available by phone at 749-2000 or online at www.TheSmithCenter.com.

Contact reporter Carol Cling at ccling@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272.

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