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He is one of the most famous cellists of modern times. [4] Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris on October 7, 1955, China and the parents had a musical education. His mother, Marina Lu, was a singer, and his father, Hiao Tsiun-Ma, was a violinist and music teacher. His family moved to New York when he was five years old. At a very young age, Ma began studying violin and then viola, before finding his true calling, taking up the cello in 1960 at age four. According to Ma, his first choice was the double bass due to its large size, but compromised and took cello time.