Yo Yo Ma and Lara Downes join Dean Aaron Dworkin in video addressing importance of the arts in America

Acclaimed cellist Yo Yo Ma, a Sphinx Special Artistic Advisor, recently participated in a video with Dean Aaron Dworkin and pianist Lara Downes. The video features the trio performing a short cello-spoken word-piano piece to celebrate and make a statement about the power and purpose of the arts in America.

The video was filmed by Michigan Media at the McIntosh Theatre in SMTD’s E.V. Moore Building on U-M’s North Campus in April, when Yo Yo Ma was in Ann Arbor for a concert at Hill Auditorium with Edgar Myer and Chris Thile. It features the music of “Poema III” by Carlos Nobre and was arranged by Dworkin, the founder of the Sphinx Organization in Detroit. Yo Yo Ma is a Sphinx Special Artistic Advisor and Downes is a Sphinx Medal of Excellence winner. Afa Dworkin, the president and artistic director of Sphinx, acted as the artistic advisor for the video.

“We live in a divisive world where at times it seems that no one is listening to one another. This is where the arts, time and again, prove their power as bridge builders between people of different races, cultures, and faiths,” said Dworkin, who wrote the spoken word text. “In this day and age, with all the challenges that lay in front of us, I can’t think of anything more important than finding ways to create a dialogue and open avenues where we can truly listen and learn from one another. The arts have, and will continue to show us, how to do just that.”