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The Bach Project: Yo-Yo Ma at the Palau de la Música

Contemporary virtuoso, Baroque composer and timeless architectural masterpiece.

Music lovers visiting Barcelona this spring have an extraordinary opportunity to experience a one-off performance, Yo-Yo Ma the Chinese-American cellist will be performing Bach at the Palau de la Música on May 24th, a golden opportunity to combine music and sightseeing in what is undoubtedly one of the city’s architectural highlights.

Yo-Yo Ma, an eclectic musician with a mission

Yo-Yo Ma (born Paris 1955) is a world renowned musician who has recorded over 90 albums and has been recognised with 19 Grammy Awards. Although primarily known for his classical recordings Yo-Yo has also collaborated with traditional Folk genres (bluegrass and Chinese), tango and Brazilian music, as well as jazz. A child prodigy he started playing the violin and piano as a young child before settling on the cello at age 5.  He studied at the famous Juilliard School before attending Columbia and Harvard.     

The Bach Project: The universal appeal of music

The Bach Project is an initiative conceived by Yo-Yo as a vehicle for bringing peoples of the world together through culture. The appreciation of Bach’s genius is universal and for Yo-Yo also very personal because they are among the first works that he learned to play from age 4. The Bach Project that commenced in August of 2018 includes performances in 36 locations around the globe, one of which is Barcelona this month of May.

The legacy of Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750), like Yo-Yo Ma was also predestined for music since birth in Eisenach, Germany, a child prodigy and youngest son of a respected musical family. J.S. Bach would become world famous after his death through the publication of his compositions. His legacy includes concertos, suites, recitatives, arias and choral works. Working in the Baroque style marked by complex harmonies, counterpoint and layered arrangements. The Bach Project programme includes six cello suites by Bach BWV 1007-1012, Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Barch Works Catalogue) performed by Yo-Yo Ma within the main auditorium of the Palau de la Música.

Palau de la Música

Palau de la Música or the Orfeó Català was designed by one of Barcelona’s most distinguished architects of the Modernisme period, Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Constructed between 1905 and 1908 the building was funded by the Coral Society with significant financial contributions from the wealthy industrials of the day. Between 1982 and 1987 the building underwent major conservation and refurbishment together with an extension carried by Oscar Tusquets and in 1997 the Palau de la Música was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

A privileged setting

Located literally steps from the Grand Hotel Central the Palau de la Música is one of Barcelona’s most renowned and beloved architectural jewels. The concert hall can accommodate up to 2,200 and is the only auditorium in Europe illuminated with natural sunlight during daylight hours via one of the building’s most stunning installations, an inverted dome stained glass roof light expressed in tones of gold and blue. The stage area, where Yo-Yo will perform is semi-circular in shape with a series of 18 three dimensional sculptures emerging from the flat mosaic bodies of young women collectively known as the muses. The perfect space for listening to one of the world’s best known virtuosos performing one of the world’s most complex music within one of the world’s most beautiful performance spaces.

Practical Information

Tickets for the Yo-Yo Ma concert can be purchased online at  or through other ticket outlet platforms.


The Grand Hotel Central as well as being located just around the corner from the Palau de la Música is an ideal base while visiting Barcelona. Situated on the boundary between the city’s Gothic Quarter and the Born neighbourhood Barcelona’s most emblematic attractions are on its doorstep. Without leaving the hotel However guests can learn about local Catalan cuisine at its restaurant City Bar and Restaurant and enjoy postcard views from its penthouse roof level SkyBar, which is also the perfect place to sample barman Manel Vehí’s signature and classic cocktails.

June 05, 2020