In 1962, a seven year old Chinese boy named Yo-Yo Ma accompanied by his talented sister Yeou-Cheng Ma, made his American stage debut to an illustrious audience that included sitting President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy along with a number of other luminaries. The event was “The American Pageant of the Arts“. The great Leonard Bernstein played emcee for the night and introduced Ma and his sister.
That double stream of art I mentioned earlier flowing into and out of America has long been the attraction of our country to foreign artists and scientists and thinkers who have come not only to visit us, but often to join us as Americans. To become citizens of wha to us has historically been the land of opportunity and to others the land of freedom. And in this great tradition there has come to us this year a young man aged seven bearing the name Yo-Yo Ma.