Yo-Yo Ma creates classical music magic for Danville students

DANVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) -- He's performed for presidents, princesses, and prime ministers. And today, he performed for Danville High School students.

"I would equate him to maybe Ne-Yo," one student told us.

"It would be like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber to come in this auditorium to sing to us and talk to us," said another.

One student said, "The fan base that Justin Bieber has multiplied about three."

So who is this musical mega-star?

His name is Yo-Yo Ma, and he is at the top of the classical charts. He's one of the most popular musicians of all time, selling more than 75 albums in forty years of playing his cello ... nicknamed Petunia.

Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble performed for Danville High School music students, mixing history and music.

The subject of the lesson? The two thousand year old Silk Road that linked Asia and Europe together in trade, and the instruments of the time.

Instruments from ancient Japan, Iran, India, and bagpipes from Spain: these students got an ear-opening experience.

"I could relate it to music," said one student. "I could actually visualize the journey because they brought their instruments and culture with them."

Who says high schoolers only like pop music?

"While Justin Bieber is popular in the US, you have Yo-Yo Ma, who is famous all throughout the world," one student told us. "And that's something that's astounding, the fact they would come to Danville, Kentucky."

Yo-Yo Ma performs Thursday night at Centre College's Norton Centre for the Arts.