• Yo-Yo Ma on The Silk Road Ensemble's Musical Model

    It's a particularly exciting time for The Silk Road Ensemble and Artistic Director Yo-Yo Ma as they celebrate the ensemble's 15th anniversary with a performance in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage this coming Wednesday, October 16—not to mention their new CD, A Playlist Without Borders (the deluxe edition includes a Live from Tanglewood DVD), and a West Coast tour

    Yo-Yo Ma shares a bit about The Silk Road Ensemble's unique musical model.

    A Musical Model


    Throughout my travels and performances around the world, I have had the opportunity to explore a wealth of different cultures and musical voices—from the immense compassion and grace of Bach’s cello suites to the ancient Celtic fiddle traditions alive in Appalachia and the soulful strains of the bandoneon of Argentina’s tango cafés. I have met and been guided by musicians who, like my Silk Road Ensemble colleagues, share my wonder at the creative potential that exists where cultures intersect.

    The Silk Road Ensemble is a musical model that requires curiosity, collaboration, and wholehearted enthusiasm. The music we play does not belong to just one culture or solely to the Silk Road region. Our interest in exploring cultural diversity has led us to perform in an astonishing range of locations, from the premier forum for global conversation, the United Nations General Assembly Hall, to the hushed, sacred space of Tōdai-ji Temple in Nara, Japan.

    The project’s work consists of careful investigations, joining tradition with new knowledge and innovation. We have had the honor of collaborating with some of the world’s best composers, and our commissioning workshops have had a remarkable record of producing successful works for our repertoire. Our creativity begins with play—exploring sounds, testing ideas—and I am delighted that this has allowed several of our performers to compose and arrange music for us, as well. Above all, I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to undertake this work, for the abiding friendships and partnerships we have developed along the way, and for the warm reception we have received from people all over the world.

    Yo-Yo Ma
    Artistic Director
    The Silk Road Project

    Further Reading:
    Yo-Yo Ma and the Mind Game of Music (The New York Times)
    A Yo-Yo Ma Project Brings Together Musicians From Warring Nations (The Atlantic)