You may have heard that Yo-Yo Ma was in town recently. You may have also heard that he performed Bach's cello suites. But did you further know that the performance, at the Greek Theater, was sold out? Do you know the Greek Theater holds 8,500 people? Do you think that's a weirdly large number of people willing to pay up to $258 to sit outside and see a cello player alone on stage?
I thought so too. Don't get me wrong; I have seen Yo-Yo Ma in concert and he is incredible. More than anyone other than possibly Pablo Casals, he's heralded as a master of Bach's suites, having recorded them multiple times. Plus, he gets cool points for having visited an Oakland block party when he was here, and for being pretty chill with wombats.
But if you are a fan of the Bach cello suites, there are certainly other cellists performing them. Variety, that enduring spice of life, is also the spice of music as delicate and open to individual interpretation as Bach's suites. As a fan myself, it behooves me to seek out other versions besides my favorite (Janos Starker, since you asked).
All this is to say: Jean-Guihen Queyras performs the Bach cello suites this weekend in an all-day Sunday marathon. He does not have the star power of Yo-Yo Ma, and that's OK. He's French. His cello is from 1696. He probably likes wombats too. What more do you need to know?