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About The Silk Road Ensemble

The Silk Road Ensemble, a music collective comprising around 60 musicians, composers, storytellers, and other artists, grew out of a project and organization founded by Yo-Yo Ma in 1998. His idea was to bring together musicians from diverse cultures to share ideas, collaborate in performance, and ultimately broaden the experiences of audiences. Initially, musicians explored the cultural roots and styles of music in the countries and communities along the ancient trade route that joined Europe and East Asia, using native instruments. Since then, the music has expanded its horizons globally, just as it has come to include newly crafted pieces in addition to new interpretations of older music. The parent organization, Silkroad, has also expanded into a wide-reaching nonprofit engaged in uniting artists of many disciplines, educators, and business people to exchange viewpoints and learn from one another. The first album from the musical group, Silk Road Journey: When Strangers Meet (2002), introducing listeners to traditional music from several cultures, was widely praised for its pan-global sound, as was its second, Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon (2005). The 2007 collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New Impossibilities, was the result of a yearlong, citywide residency project. Released in 2009, Off the Map featured new music from Gabriela Lena Frank, Angel Lam, Evan Ziporyn, and Osvaldo Golijov composed just for the ensemble, and proved the skills of the group without Ma's presence. Ma returned to recording with the Ensemble for 2013's Playlist Without Borders, which was followed by 2016's Sing Me Home, recorded during the filming of the documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, directed by Morgan Neville. ~ Patsy Morita


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