Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

Silkroad Ensemble

7:30 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019

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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Adult $52
University Park Student $15
18 and Younger $42

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support provided by
John L. Brown Jr. and Marlynn Steele Sidehamer Endowment

Artist Websites: 

Secondary Events on Each Event

The Music of Strangers:
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble

7:00 pm Monday, November 4, 2019

HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium

Free and open to the public

The Music of Strangers, the latest film from the creators of the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom and the critically-hailed Best of Enemies, follows an ever-changing lineup of performers drawn from the Silkroad Ensemble’s more than fifty instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists, and storytellers. The artists gather in locations across the world to explore the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution. Blending performance footage, personal interviews, and archival film, director Morgan Neville and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the journeys of a small group of ensemble mainstays to create an intensely personal chronicle of passion, talent, and sacrifice. Through these moving individual stories, the filmmakers paint a portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind.

After the documentary screening, selected Silkroad musicians will engage in a question-and-answer session with audience members.

Master Class featuring Johnny Gandelsman

11:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Recital Hall

Free and open to the public

The public is invited to observe as Silkroad Ensemble violinist Johnny Gandelsman leads a ninety-minute master class for Penn State School of Music students. Gandelsman, a Grammy Award winner, was born in Russia and moved to the United States in 1995. He is also a founding member of the string quartet Brooklyn Rider.

Artistic Viewpoints

6:30 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Eisenhower Auditorium

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring vocalist Nora Fischer and bassist Shawn Conley, is offered one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.