Have cello, will substitute. That’s the case for international superstar Yo-Yo Ma, who filled in for an ailing cellist on a few minutes’ notice during a concert May 1 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Ma, who’s also the Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was to appear in the concert’s second half as guest soloist in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. When VSO Music Director Bramwell Tovey mentioned to Ma that a cellist was ill and then jokingly asked him if he would consider joining the orchestra for Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, Ma readily agreed.

Afterward, Tovey gave an account of the orchestral save to the classical music blog Slipped Disc: “Yo-Yo is a tremendous colleague who often plays in the orchestra for the second half when he’s played a concerto before the intermission. But to play in the first half when the second half contains a concerto as mammoth as Dvorak’s for cello, well, that’s unheard of in my experience.”

To read the full report, click here.

PHOTO: Yo-Yo Ma backstage with Bramwell Tovey, music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.