One of Yo-Yo Ma’s second acts is a force in its own right

Yo-Yo Ma, Silkroad Ensemble
The Washington Post

By Robert S. Pohl

Having traveled the globe, appeared with the world’s leading orchestras and achieved virtually anything a solo cellist could dream of, Yo-Yo Ma has sought a range of second acts. One is the Silk Road Ensemble, a group of international musicians that Ma founded to explore various musical styles and traditions and mingle them with his own.

Now, that once-experimental ensemble is a recognized force in its own right. On Sunday, the group appeared at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, presented by Washington Performing Arts, as part of Silk Road’s 15th-anniversary tour. How time flies.

Another highlight was Sandeep Das and Kayhan Kalhor’s “Jugalbandi.” The two musicians come from different backgrounds — India and Iran, respectively — but their tabla, a pair of Indian drums, and kamancheh, a stringed Iranian instrument, complemented each other, with a violin and cello completing the sound. The piece begins quietly but builds on a repeated motif to a wild, satisfying conclusion.

Closing the concert was Edward Perez’s “The Latina 6/8 Suite,” a romp through Latin music, driven by the gaita — a Galician bagpipe. Throughout, Ma remained a quiet presence in the middle of the action. It was time for others to shine.

Read the full review here.