THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE WITH YO-YO MA RETURNS TO ASIA

03.18.10
Silk Road Ensemble
The Silk Road Project

From The Silk Road Project

Concerts will take place in South Korea, Macao, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore from April 18 through 30, 2010

For the first time in nearly six years, the critically acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma will return to South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore during an April 2010 concert tour, which will also feature the Ensemble’s debut performances in Macao and Thailand. This series of concerts from April 18 through April 30 concludes the Silk Road Project’s 10th-anniversary celebration with performances in Seoul, South Korea; Macao; Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Bangkok, Thailand; and Singapore. [A complete tour schedule follows below.]

"I look forward to returning to Asia with the Silk Road Ensemble,” said Yo-Yo Ma, founder and artistic director of the nonprofit arts and educational organization the Silk Road Project. “This tour is especially exciting for us because each of the places we are visiting has deep roots in the kind of exchange that happened along the Silk Road. Whether it's Macao, the former Portuguese colony, alongside Hong Kong or the multi-ethnic Singapore in the midst of the Islamic country of Malaysia, or Korea with its deep connections to Mongolia and Japan, each stop on our route was witness to the movements of peoples, religions, ideas and languages. At a time when so much attention is being paid to these areas politically and economically, I think it is equally important to understand the vibrant cultures of these unique places. The Silk Road Project and I look forward to celebrating the history of each culture, to bringing what we have learned, and to learning more."

Mr. Ma carefully constructed several distinct concert programs to suit each of the tour venues. Concerts will present a mix of familiar favorites—many of them traditional works from Korea, China, Persia and the Roma people—and celebrated new music from some of today’s most globally minded composers, written specifically for the Silk Road Ensemble’s unique makeup of Eastern and Western musicians and instruments.

Highlights of the two-week, seven-city tour include the Asian premieres of Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Air to Air and U.S. composer Evan Ziporyn’s Sulvasutra, both of which are featured on the Silk Road Ensemble’s recent CD, Off the Map (released in November 2009 from World Village and In a Circle Records). Infused by music as diverse as protest song from 18th-century Sardinia, indigenous voices from Mexico and the Christian Arab Easter service, Air to Air is what Golijov has called “music borne of community.” Ziporyn wrote Sulvasutra, a musical enactment of the Big Bang, for Indian tabla player Sandeep Das.

Two other works from the album are also on the concert schedule. Ritmos Anchinos, by 2009 Latin Grammy Award winner Gabriela Lena Frank, showcases internationally renowned pipa virtuosa Wu Man and sheng player Wu Tong, a popular Chinese rock musician and proponent of traditional music. Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain, composed by Hong Kong native Angel Lam, is an urban groove for Japanese shakuhachi flute and bass.

During the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma’s 2010 Asia Tour, Hyosung is the Lead Sponsor of the Silk Road Project for the concert in Seoul; American Express is the Lead Sponsor of the Silk Road Project for the concerts in Taipei and Singapore.

This concert tour is the final in a series of performances, premieres and innovative educational programs that have celebrated the Silk Road Project’s 10th anniversary on three continents. Anniversary programming began in October 2008 with a special performance at the United Nations for U.N. Day and continued through a North American concert tour, a series of performances at New York City’s Lincoln Center and a European concert tour in 2009. The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma will tour in the United States in August 2010. For more information on scheduled performances visit www.silkroadproject.org/schedule.