Silkroad Ensemble

The critically acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma will perform at music festivals throughout the eastern United States from August 8 through 22, 2010. Performances are scheduled at Tanglewood Music Center in the Massachusetts Berkshires, New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre, Philadelphia’s Mann Center, Rochester’s CMAC Performing Arts Center, Cleveland’s Blossom Festival, Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, Chapel Hill’s Memorial Auditorium, Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, the Chicago area’s Ravinia Festival, and Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts.

"The Silk Road Ensemble and I are really excited about this tour, starting out in Tanglewood, where many of us first met,” said Yo-Yo Ma, founder and artistic director of the Silk Road Project, a nonprofit arts and educational organization that is home to the Ensemble. “The program includes works by Osvaldo Golijov and Giovanni Sollima and several traditional pieces inspired by remarkable stories, from Ascending Bird, a Persian tale similar to the myth of Icarus, to Ambush from Ten Sides, a piece that recounts a battle between feuding dynasties in ancient China. I’m so glad to join my friends in the Ensemble in sharing this music with audiences this summer.”

Because of the Silk Road Ensemble’s distinctive range of instruments—these concerts feature the Chinese pipa (lute) and sheng (mouth organ), the Japanese shakuhachi (bamboo flute), Indian tabla (drums), Galician bagpipe, Western strings and world percussion—the pieces on this program were written or arranged specifically for the group. The Silk Road Project commissioned the feverishly inventive work The Taranta Project from Sicilian composer Giovanni Sollima in 2008. Tabla player Sandeep Das composed Shristi, a percussion piece that enacts the creation of the universe by Shiva and his drum, following a university residency with fellow Silk Road Ensemble members.

Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Air to Air is a highlight of the program. This expansive piece is infused by music as diverse as 18th-century Sardinian songs, indigenous voices from Mexico and the Christian Arab Easter service. As American Record Guide described Air to Air in its review of the Silk Road Ensemble’s recent CD, Off the Map (released in November 2009), “soulful, melancholy lines, spirituals, dances, and protest songs are beautifully crafted into a cohesive whole, made even more impressive with the use of unusual instruments.”

“Sharing traditions from near and far is at the core of our work,” said Laura Freid, chief executive officer and executive director of the Silk Road Project. “Silk Road Ensemble members are constantly learning and collaborating to create new music with each other. These traditional and contemporary pieces composed by Latin American, Persian, Indian, Italian, Galician and Chinese musicians truly embrace the Silk Road as a metaphor for the remarkable discoveries to be made at the intersections of cultures and artistic traditions.”

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma will next tour in the United States in April 2011, in Texas and California, and in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information on scheduled performances visit

August 8 – 22, 2010
U.S. Music Festivals Tour

Sunday, August 8, at 8:30 PM: Lenox, MA – Tanglewood Music Center
Monday, August 9, at 8 PM: New Bedford, Ma – Zeiterion Theater
Wednesday, August 11, at 8 PM: Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for the Performing Arts
Thursday, August 12, at 7:30 PM: Rochester, NY – Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
Saturday, August 14, at 8 PM: Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Sunday, August 15, at 7 PM: Detroit, MI – Orchestra Hall
Tuesday, August 17, at 7:30 PM: Chapel Hill, NC – Memorial Auditorium, UNC Chapel Hill
Thursday, August 19, at 7 PM: Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theater
Friday, August 20, at 8 PM: Highland Park, IL – Ravinia Festival, Ravinia Pavilion
Sunday, August 22, at 2:30 PM: Madison, WI – Overture Center for the Arts


Cristina Pato                                                                   Caronte

Persian Traditional; Arr. Siamak Aghaei, Colin Jacobsen    Ascending Bird

Ruan Ji; Arr. Wu Tong and Liu Lin                                    Wine Madness

Osvaldo Golijov                                                              Air to Air*

Giovanni Sollima                                                            The Taranta Project**

Sandeep Das                                                                 Shristi

Traditional; Arr. Li Cang Sang and Wu Tong                     Ambush from Ten Sides

*   Commissioned by Carnegie Hall through the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the Silk Road Project, Inc. The world premiere was given at Carnegie Hall in September 2006.
** Commissioned by the Silk Road Project, Inc. (2008)

About the Silk Road Ensemble

About Yo-Yo Ma

Visit the Silk Road Project's website