February 29, 2024

Purdue Presidential Lecture Series presents ‘A Conversation With Yo-Yo Ma’

Jeffrey Brown, 'PBS NewsHour' correspondent, moderator; powered by Purdue Convocations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University President Mung Chiang and the Purdue Presidential Lecture Series present the renowned cellist, recording artist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma in a special engagement moderated by "PBS NewsHour" correspondent Jeffrey Brown. Through personal anecdotes, thoughtful inquiry and musical interludes, Yo-Yo Ma explores how culture can help us all seek truth, build trust and act in service of one another. The conversation will take place at Purdue’s Elliott Hall of Music on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2024, at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but a ticket is required. Seating will be general admission, and tickets may be reserved here: https://am.ticketmaster.com/purdue/yoyoma.

“Arts connects and inspires. Purdue is a university in the fullest sense when we welcome distinguished artists to our campus,” Chiang said. “It is particularly exciting to announce the unique Presidential Lecture Series event with Yo-Yo Ma, a living legend in the world of music and humanity.”

Ma’s multifaceted 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, he strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity. Among his many roles, Ma is a United Nations Messenger of Peace and the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees. 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.

Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age 4 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.

Brown, in a career spanning 30 years with PBS’s "NewsHour," has served as co-anchor, studio moderator and field reporter on a wide range of national and international issues around the nation and globe. He has profiled many of the world’s leading writers, musicians, actors and artists, and led inquiry into the status of cultural heritage in the United States and abroad.

Launched in 2014 by former Purdue President Mitch Daniels and continued in 2023 by President Chiang, the Presidential Lecture Series exposes Purdue students and the broader community to inspiring ideas, courageous leadership and models of civic engagement and civil discourse. The Presidential Lecture Series has hosted some of the great intellectual, business and civic leaders of our time. As one of the world’s premier centers of scholarly leadership, Purdue is — appropriately and necessarily — a regular venue for great thinkers across a wide variety of disciplines. 

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.

Media contact: James Britton, jamesbritton@purdue.edu

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