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Born on October 7, 1955, in Paris, France, Yo-Yo Ma is a cellist and songwriter of Chinese descent. The child prodigy attended the Juilliard School and continued to excel throughout his adult life, producing more than 75 albums and winning more than 15 Grammy Awards. The acclaimed musician also served as artistic director of the Silk Road Project, an organization dedicated to promoting the various traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route. In 2001, Ma was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 2010, he was named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.