On June 20Yo-Yo Ma continued his Bach Project in Chicago, where he performed the complete Bach cello suites in a free concert at Millennium Park.

6/20/19 8:28:46 PM — Symphony Center Presents
Yo-Yo Ma performs the Bach Cello Suites at Millennium Park
© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2019

The following day, Yo-Yo collaborated on a Day of Action in various neighborhoods around the city. In the morning, the day kicked off in the North Lawndale neighborhood, where the City of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and the community came together to plant trees and site stones. The project built on a partnership between artist Pedro Reyes and SAIC that reproduced Reyes’s work “Palas por Pistolas” (Guns into Shovels). North Lawndale-based gardeners, artists, and musicians led volunteers using shovels crafted from donated weapons. Local civic leaders and artist Pedro Reyes spoke about the project; students from the Ravinia Lawndale Family Music School sang and played; and Yo-Yo joined forces with Civic Orchestra of Chicago flutist Alexandria Hoffman on Bach’s Air (on the G string), which Hoffman played on a flute that Reyes crafted from donated weapons.

6/21/19 11:16:27 AM — Yo-Yo Ma’s Day of Action.
© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2019

On his way to the afternoon’s cultural conversation, Yo-Yo Ma stopped by McKinley Park with local young pianist Ben Serwer for a pop-up performance as part of Make Music Chicago’s Pianos in the Park series.

In the afternoon, Ma joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot, author and activist Jahmal Cole, and artist Hailey Love for a conversation about culture’s role in combating violence. The discussion was moderated by WBEZ’s Natalie Moore and took place in the Pilsen neighborhood at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

The event featured performances by OpenMike artists Jamal Reid, Ben Serwer, and Hailey Love from SocialWorksChance the Rapper’s youth empowerment organization.

6/21/19 2:40:27 PM — Yo-Yo Ma’s Day of Action.
© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2019

The backdrop of the conversation was a special installation of JR’s living mural “The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America.” You can explore “The Gun Chronicles” online: download JR:Murals from your app store or visit time.com/guns-in-america.

The day concluded at the Chicago Riverwalk, where Yo-Yo joined members of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago to perform J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 as part of the annual Make Music Chicago events.

6/21/19 5:11:17 PM — Yo-Yo Ma’s Day of Action.
© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2019

Learn more about the Bach Project here.