Since 2000 the Silk Road Ensemble has been redefining classical music for 21st-century audiences. Representing a global array of cultures, Silk Road Ensemble members co-create art, performances, and ideas. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma established the nonprofit organization Silkroad and the Ensemble to explore the role of the arts in fostering cross-cultural understanding, deepening learning, and promoting innovation. Silk Road Ensemble performers and composers hail from more than 20 countries. Passionate about learning from one another’s traditions, these rooted explorers perform on instruments ranging from world percussion to Western strings to the Chinese pipa (lute) and sheng (mouth organ), the Japanese shakuhachi (bamboo flute), the Galician gaita (bagpipe), Indian tabla (paired drums), and Persian kamancheh (spike fiddle), among others. Under the artistic direction of Mr. Ma, these storytelling musicians celebrate the multiplicity of approaches to music from around the world. They also develop new repertoire that responds to the new realities of our global society. In engaging, high-energy performances, the Silk Road Ensemble draws on a rich tapestry of traditions that make up our shared cultural heritage, creating a new musical language — a uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects our many-layered contemporary identities. The Silk Road Ensemble has performed in more than 100 cities in over 30 countries, in venues including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ensemble performances have also highlighted the Nobel Prize celebrations in Stockholm, the Sir Bani Yas Forum in the United Arab Emirates, the Special Olympics in Shanghai, the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, and London’s BBC Proms. The Ensemble has recorded five albums, including the most recent CD, A Playlist Without Borders, and Live From Tanglewood DVD. The Sound of Silk, a documentary about the ensemble by the Academy Award–winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, is in production and is expected to premiere in 2015. Ensemble members in this performance are clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, bassist Jeffrey Beecher, cellist singer, composer, and educator Mike Block, violist Nicholas Cords, tabla player Sandeep Das, violinist and composer Johnny Gandelsman, percussionist and composer Joseph Gramley, sheng soloist and composer Hu Jianbing, violinist and composer Colin Jacobsen, kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, composer, pianist, and gaita player Cristina Pato, percussionist and composer Shane Shanahan, percussionist and composer Mark Suter, performer and composer Kojiro Umezaki, accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman, and pipa virtuoso and composer Wu Man.
Learn more about Silk Road Ensemble