The Silkroad Ensemble creates music that engages difference, sparking radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning to build a more hopeful world. Founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the group has been called “vibrant and virtuosic” by the Wall Street Journal, “one of the twenty-first century’s great ensembles” by the Vancouver Sun, and a “roving musical laboratory without walls” by the Boston Globe.
Silkroad musicians appear in many configurations and settings. At Penn State, the ensemble will include thirteen artists: Dan Brantigan, trumpet; Shawn Conley, bass; Nicholas Cords, viola; Biella da Costa and Nora Fischer, vocals; Jeremy Flower, electronics; Johnny Gandelsman and Mazz Swift, violins; Kayhan Kalhor, kemancheh; Karen Ouzounian, cello; Shane Shanahan, percussion; Wu Man, pipa; and Wu Tong, vocals and sheng *.
The program will feature works by Osvaldo Golijov, including Tancas Serradas a Muru and excerpts from Falling Out of Time and La Pasión Segun San Marcos; an excerpt from Jason Moran’s Moderato 400; and compositions by Silkroad artists Conley, Kalhor, Man, and Tong.
Silkroad musicians and composers hail from more than twenty countries, drawing on a tapestry of traditions to create a new musical language—a uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects our many-layered contemporary identities. As a Los Angeles Times writer points out, Silkroad’s “vision of international cooperation is not what we read in our daily news reports. Theirs is the better world available if we, like these extraordinary musicians, agree to make it one.”
The ensemble has performed in more than thirty countries and recorded seven albums. Its 2016 release, Sing Me Home, won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. The Music of Strangers, a documentary about the ensemble directed by the Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, was released worldwide in 2016.
After the concert, Ouzounian, Brantigan, and Flower will engage in a discussion with audience members.
* Yo-Yo Ma will not appear in this performance.
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support provided by
John L. Brown Jr. and Marlynn Steele Sidehamer Endowment