Yo-Yo Ma Picks Music Contest Winners For cellist Yo-Yo Ma, music is all about collaboration. He issued a challenge last fall to fans who wanted to upload their own performances to play alongside his own. Ma has picked a pair of winners — a heavy-metal guitarist and a composer of music for hand bells — who now get to collaborate with Ma, face to face.
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Yo-Yo Ma Picks Music Contest Winners

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Yo-Yo Ma Picks Music Contest Winners

Yo-Yo Ma Picks Music Contest Winners

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Last month, our co-host, Robert Siegel, spoke with cellist Yo-Yo Ma about an online contest. The cellist invited musicians to download a track of him playing this traditional song, "Dona Nobis Pacem," and then record an accompanying part. The winner would have a chance to record with Yo-Yo Ma. More than 300 people submitted entries, and Yo-Yo Ma has picked a winner. He sat down today with Robert to unveil who won.

ROBERT SIEGEL: Yo-Yo, welcome.

YO: Thank you, Robert.

SIEGEL: And you've come, not only with the announcement of a winner, but more than one winner.

MA: Absolutely, because I don't believe that there's always only one person, and competitions for me don't really work unless you can recognize individuality, and you can't compare apples and oranges.

SIEGEL: So, you have an apple and an orange?

MA: Exactly.

SIEGEL: OK. We will now hear the first of the two winners Yo-Yo Ma will announce. Can we have a drum roll, please?

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUM ROLL)

MA: And the winner is: Kevin McChesney.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "DONA NOBIS PACEM")

SIEGEL: Kevin McChesney and the Pikes Peak Ringers of Colorado Springs. Tell us what you like about this.

MA: Well, having played hand bells in second grade, I know how difficult it is to actually coordinate a whole bunch of people. The arrangement is phenomenal, and the professional quality of what this group has done is absolutely stunning.

SIEGEL: Mr. McChesney, by the way, is a composer and arranger of hand bell music and I've also learned that he is the hand bell editor for Jeffers Handbell Supply and the Ringing Word Catalog. And now, for the second winner.

(SOUNDBITE OF DRUM ROLL)

MA: Toshi O. And I know nothing about this group.

SIEGEL: Except that he plays mean guitar.

MA: Absolutely.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "DONA NOBIS PACEM")

SIEGEL: Tell us what you like about Toshi O.

MA: First of all, it is really surprising. For "Dona Nobis Pacem," you get this amazing, virtuosic guitar playing, very well constructed piece, and it's fun.

SIEGEL: We learned that Toshi O. is Toshi Osawa, born in Tokyo, but now lives in - near Vancouver, British Columbia, where he's a member of a heavy metal rock band called Antiquus. There we have the two winners, Yo-Yo. Any honorable mentions?

MA: Yes. I heard so many wonderful people, but there're five that I don't I can leave the studio without mentioning their names - Jim Gross(ph), Kevin Olecela(ph), Lisbett Scott(ph), Sally Burton(ph), and Tina Gwo(ph).

SIEGEL: Well, you can hear the two winning entries, and also links where - which will lead you to all the others at, out Web site, npr.org. Yo-Yo Ma, thank you so much for coming in.

MA: Robert, it's great to be with you.

(SOUNDBITE OF "DONA NOBIS PACEM")

BLOCK: You're listening to All Things Considered from NPR News.

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