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Yo-Yo Ma in Concert

4 May 2025 @ 2:30 pm

The extraordinary cellist, globe-trotting teacher, and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma returns to the Royal Theatre to perform with your Victoria Symphony. As the peak of our 2024/25 Season, Maestro Kluxen will welcome the award-winning cellist to perform Elgar’s moving Cello Concerto, a monumental work of universal appeal. The opening work, by Jennifer Butler, was premiered by VS in 2011 and evokes a transition from darkness to a space of unity, peace and healing. Sibelius himself thought of his Symphony No. 2 as “a struggle between death and salvation” and “a confession of the soul.”

Ticket prices for this Season Special range from $72 – $355.

Not included in subscription purchase discount. Subscribers will receive early access to single tickets on Tuesday, July 23, one week ahead of the general public. Limit of two tickets per subscription package holder. Subject to availability. No waitlist.

Concert underwritten by Jill Gibson, Jim & Betty Hesser, Marc & Patricia Lortie, and Christine & Shane O’Leary
Christian Kluxen underwritten by Sandra Lackenbauer

Christian Kluxen, conductor

Now in his eighth season as Music Director of the Victoria Symphony in Canada, Christian Kluxen is also in his second season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra in Finland, following a five-year tenure as Chief Conductor of the Arctic Philharmonic in Norway.

Kluxen has been described in the press as “a dynamic, charismatic figure” who “forms the music with an impressive vertical power of emotion and a focus on the grand form”, conducting “with exemplary clarity and a heavenly warmth”. He is recognized for his sincere and transparent leadership, innovative programming and his bold, imaginative and energetic interpretations, showcased both in his MD and guest work.

Alongside his many and varied commitments with the Victoria Symphony and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, recent and forthcoming guest engagements include Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Pacific Symphony, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Odense Symphony, and Norrköping Symphony. A fruitful and inspiring relationship with the Arctic Philharmonic, whom Kluxen led for five years as Chief Conductor, resulted in numerous exhilarating performances of a wide variety of repertoire, as well as several acclaimed recordings.

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is testament to his belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works for cello, bringing communities together to explore culture’s role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, Yo-Yo strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.

Most recently, Yo-Yo began Our Common Nature, a cultural journey to celebrate the ways that nature can reunite us in pursuit of a shared future. Our Common Nature follows the Bach Project, a 36-community, six-continent tour of J. S. Bach’s cello suites paired with local cultural programming. Both endeavors reflect Yo-Yo’s lifelong commitment to stretching the boundaries of genre and tradition to understand how music helps us to imagine and build a stronger society.

Yo-Yo is an advocate for a future guided by humanity, trust, and understanding. Among his many roles, Yo-Yo is a United Nations Messenger of Peace, the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees, a member of the board of Nia Tero, the US-based nonprofit working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and movements worldwide, and the founder of the global music collective Silkroad.

His discography of more than 120 albums (including 19 Grammy Award winners) ranges from iconic renditions of the Western classical canon to recordings that defy categorization, such as “Hush” with Bobby McFerrin and the “Goat Rodeo Sessions” with Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. Yo-Yo’s recent releases include “Six Evolutions,” his third recording of Bach’s cello suites, and “Songs of Comfort and Hope,” created and recorded with pianist Kathryn Stott in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yo-Yo’s latest album, “Beethoven for Three: Symphony No. 4 and Op. 97 ‘Archduke,’” is the third in a new series of Beethoven recordings with pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Leonidas Kavakos.

Yo-Yo was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and three years later moved with his family to New York City, where he continued his cello studies at the Juilliard School before pursuing a liberal arts education at Harvard. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), the Polar Music Prize (2012), and the Birgit Nilsson Prize (2022). He has performed for nine American presidents, most recently on the occasion of President Biden’s inauguration.

Yo-Yo and his wife have two children. He plays three instruments: a 2003 instrument made by Moes & Moes, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice, and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.


Program notes to come.

Jennifer Butler (1976— )
And Birds Do Sing

Edward Elgar (1857—1934)
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
I. Adagio; Moderato
II. Lento; Allegro molto
III. Adagio
IV. Allegro; Moderato; Allegro, ma non troppo

Jean Sibelius (1865—1957)
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43
I. Allegretto
II. Andante; ma rubato
III. Vivacissimo
IV. Finale: Allegro moderato

Media links to come.


4 May 2025
starts at 2:30 pm


Victoria Symphony


Royal Theatre
805 Broughton St + Google Map

Concert Programme

  • Jennifer Butler
    And Birds Do Sing
  • Elgar
    Cello Concerto
  • Sibelius
    Symphony No. 2