In an interview, Yo-Yo Ma discussed the genesis of the Silk Road Project.
“I’ve been traveling around the world for 25 years, performing, talking to people, studying their cultures and musical instruments, and I always come away with more questions in my head than can be answered.”
“One of these is the idea of culture as a transnational influence, and the Silk Road, though basically a trade route, also connected the cultures of the peole who used it.”
“The project started with several symposia of scholars, and it was eventually decided to form a nonprofit, knowledge-based organization that would combine new and traditional information about places where people have been making exciting, wonderful music….Our idea is to bring together musicians who represent all these traditions, in workshops, festivals, and conferences, to see how we can connect with each other in music.”
Excerpted from “Continuity in diversity” by Edith Eisler (Strings XV/8:94 [May–June 2001] pp. 46–54).
Today is Yo-Yo Ma’s 60th birthday! Below, performing with the Silk Road Ensemble, an offshoot of the Project.