Yo-Yo Ma had a surprise gift of unsuspecting Montrealers venturing out for holiday shopping on Saturday, as he performed a free concert at Place des Arts métro station in downtown Montréal. The world-renowned cellist was in the city for a sold out concert on Friday night.
The free performance was both part of Ma’s “Bach project,” which will see Ma play Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello in 36 location across six continents, and “A Day of Action” event celebrating the intersections of AI, art, and ethics to discuss how artistic collaboration in machine learning developments is vital to shaping the future of humanity.
Yo-Yo Ma was joined by Olivier Oullier of Emotiv to demonstrate the company’s work on neuroinformatics and music’s impact on the brain.
Performing on a stage set-up by the Sociéte de Transport de Montréal, Ma addressed the astonished crowd, “This is fantastic — in the métro, for everyone. And now I want to play something for you, and we’ll see what happens.”
“In the métro, you’re all linked together because you’re travelling together every day from one place to another,” he explained. “This is what unites us.”
The entire performance was live-streamed on Facebook.