The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma Returns to Asia: 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.

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.

“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 http://www.silkroadproject.org/schedule.

About the Silk Road Ensemble

The Silk Road Ensemble is a collective of internationally renowned musicians, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers from more than 20 countries. Each Ensemble member’s career illustrates a unique response to what is one of the artistic challenges of our times: nourishing global connections while maintaining the integrity of art rooted in authentic tradition. Many of the musicians first came together under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma at a workshop at Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts in 2000. Since then, in various configurations, Ensemble artists have collaborated on a diverse range of musical and multimedia projects, presenting innovative performances that explore the relationship between tradition and innovation in music from the East and West. The Silk Road Ensemble has recorded four albums and performed to critical acclaim throughout Asia, Europe and North America.

About Yo-Yo Ma

The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Mr. Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as a soloist with orchestras worldwide and his recital and chamber music activities. His discography encompasses more than 75 albums, including 16 Grammy award winners. One of Mr. Ma’s goals is the investigation of music as a means of communication and a vehicle for the migration of ideas; in 1998 he established the Silk Road Project to promote the study of cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade routes. Mr. Ma was born in Paris to Chinese parents who later moved the family to New York. He began to study the cello at the age of four, attended the Juilliard School, and in 1976 graduated from Harvard University. He has received numerous awards, including the 1978 Avery Fisher Prize, the 1999 Glenn Gould Prize, the 2001 National Medal of Arts, the 2006 Sonning Prize, the 2006 Dan David Prize, and the 2008 World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award. In 2006, he was designated a United Nations Messenger of Peace by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon extended his appointment. In January 2009, at the invitation of President-Elect Barack Obama, Mr. Ma played in the quartet performance of John Williams’ “Air and Simple Gifts” at the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.

About the Silk Road Project

The Silk Road Project is a not-for-profit artistic, cultural and educational organization with a vision of connecting the world’s neighborhoods by bringing together artists and audiences around the globe. Founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998 as a catalyst to promote innovation and learning through the arts, the Silk Road Project takes inspiration from the historic Silk Road trading route as a modern metaphor for multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange. Under the artistic direction of Mr. Ma and the leadership of CEO and Executive Director Laura Freid, the Silk Road Project presents performances by the Silk Road Ensemble, engages in cross-cultural exchanges and residencies, leads workshops for students, and partners with leading cultural institutions to create educational materials and programs. Developing new music is a central mission of the Silk Road Project, which has been involved in commissioning and performing more than 60 new musical and multimedia works from composers and arrangers from around the world.

Concert Programs

April 18 – April 30, 2010

Asia Concert Tour

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Sunday, April 18, at 5 PM: Seoul Arts Center; Seoul, South Korea – Program 1

Tuesday, April 20, at 8 PM: Macao Cultural Centre; Macao S.A.R., China – Program 2

Thursday, April 22, at 7:30 PM: Taipei National Concert Hall; Taipei, Taiwan – Program 2

Saturday, April 24, at 7:30 PM: Taichung Fulfillment Amphitheatre; Taichung, Taiwan – Program 3

Sunday, April 25, at 7:30 PM: Jhihde Theater; Kaohsiung, Taiwan – Program 3

Tuesday, April 27, at 8 PM: Thailand Cultural Centre; Bangkok, Thailand – Program 4

Thursday, April 29, at 7:30 PM: Esplanade Concert Hall; Singapore – Program 4

Friday, April 30, at 7:30 PM: Esplanade Concert Hall; Singapore – Program 5

Program 1 (Seoul)

Silk Road Suite

Improvisation    Wandering Winds

Ahmet Adnan Saygun    Partita, Opus 31 (Allegretto)

Persian Traditional, Arr. Siamak Aghaei, Colin Jacobsen    Ascending Bird

Dong-Won Kim, Arr. Jonathan Gandelsman    Baet Nore (“Distant Horizons”)

Gabriela Lena Frank    Ritmos Anchinos*

Kayhan Kalhor    Silent City**

Korean Traditional    Heung Bo Ga

Osvaldo Golijov    Air to Air*

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma for Program 1

Jeffrey Beecher, contrabass

Nicholas Cords, viola

Haruka Fujii, percussion

Jonathan Gandelsman, violin

Joseph Gramley, percussion

Colin Jacobsen, violin

Kayhan Kalhor, kamancheh

Dong-Won Kim, Korean percussion and vocals

Ji Hyun Kim, kayagum and vocals

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Mark Suter, percussion

Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi

Wu Man, pipa

Wu Tong, sheng and bawu

Program 2 (Macao, Taipei)

Silk Road Suite

Improvisation    Wandering Winds

Ahmet Adnan Saygun    Partita, Opus 31 (Allegretto)

Persian Traditional, Arr. Siamak Aghaei, Colin Jacobsen    Ascending Bird

Dong-Won Kim, Arr. Jonathan Gandelsman    Baet Nore (“Distant Horizons”)

Gabriela Lena Frank    Ritmos Anchinos*

Kayhan Kalhor    Silent City**

Chinese Traditional    White Snow in the Sunny Spring

Osvaldo Golijov    Air to Air **

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma for Program 2

Jeffrey Beecher, contrabass

Nicholas Cords, viola

Haruka Fujii, percussion

Jonathan Gandelsman, violin

Joseph Gramley, percussion

Colin Jacobsen, violin

Kayhan Kalhor, kamancheh

Dong-Won Kim, Korean percussion and vocals

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Mark Suter, percussion

Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi

Wu Man, pipa

Wu Tong, sheng and bawu

Program 3 (Taichung, Kaohsiung)

Silk Road Suite

Improvisation    Wandering Winds

Chinese Traditional    White Snow in the Sunny Spring

Rabih Abou-Khalil    Arabian Waltz

Sandeep Das    Shristi

Music of the Roma

Traditional, Arr. Ljova    Doina Oltului?? (“Song of the River Olt”)

Sapo Perapaskero, Arr. Osvaldo Golijov, Ljova    Turceasca (“Turkish Song”)

Persian Traditional    Improvisation

Chinese Traditional, Arr. Zhao Lin    Yanzi (“Swallow Song”)

Chinese Traditional, Arr. Li Cang Sang, Wu Tong    Ambush from Ten Sides

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma for Program 3

Jeffrey Beecher, contrabass

Nicholas Cords, viola

Sandeep Das, tabla

Haruka Fujii, percussion

Jonathan Gandelsman, violin

Joseph Gramley, percussion

Colin Jacobsen, violin

Siamak Jahangiry, ney

Kayhan Kalhor, kamancheh

Dong-Won Kim, Korean percussion

Liu Lin, ruan, guitar

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Mark Suter, percussion

Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi

Wu Man, pipa

Wu Tong, sheng and bawu

Guest Artist: Vesal Arbzadeh, setar

Program 4 (Bangkok, Singapore 4/29)

Silk Road Suite

Ahmet Adnan Saygun    Partita, Opus 31 (Allegretto)

Persian Traditional, Arr. Siamak Aghaei, Colin Jacobsen    Ascending Bird

Angel Lam    Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain*

Evan Zipporyn    Sulvasutra*

Kayhan Kalhor    Silent City**

Chinese Traditional, Arr. Zhao Lin    Yanzi (“Swallow Song”)

Chinese Traditional,    Ambush from Ten Sides

Arr. Li Cang Sang, Wu Tong

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma for Program 4

Jeffrey Beecher, contrabass

Nicholas Cords, viola

Sandeep Das, tabla

Haruka Fujii, percussion

Jonathan Gandelsman, violin

Joseph Gramley, percussion

Colin Jacobsen, violin

Kayhan Kalhor, kamancheh

Liu Lin, guitar

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Mark Suter, percussion

Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi

Wu Man, pipa

Wu Tong, sheng

Program 5 (Singapore 4/30)

Silk Road Suite

Kayhan Kalhor, Arr. Ljova    Mountains are Far Away

Hu Tian Quan, Arr. Wu Tong, Liu Lin    Phoenix Rising

Zhao Jiping    Summer in the High Grassland

Persian Traditional, Arr. Siamak Aghaei, Colin Jacobsen    Ascending Bird

Ruan Ji, Arr. Wu Tong, Liu Lin    Wine Madness

Gabriela Lena Frank    Ritmos Anchinos*

Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky    Night Music: Voice in the Leaves?

Osvaldo Golijov    Air to Air **

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma for Program 5

Jeffrey Beecher, contrabass

Nicholas Cords, viola

Sandeep Das, tabla

Haruka Fujii, percussion

Jonathan Gandelsman, violin

Joseph Gramley, percussion

Colin Jacobsen, violin

Kayhan Kalhor, kamancheh

Liu Lin, ruan, guitar

Yo-Yo Ma, cello

Gulia Mashurova, harp

Mark Suter, percussion

Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi

Wu Man, pipa

Wu Tong, sheng

Members of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra will perform as guest artists, including Lan Shui, conductor, and Mark Suter, percussion.

*Commissioned by Carnegie Hall through the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the Silk Road Project. The world premieres were given at Carnegie Hall, New York City, in September 2006.

** Made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation and first performed at Harvard University in 2005. This arrangement was commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation.

? Commissioned in 2000 by the Silk Road Project.

?? The Ljova arrangement of Doina Oltului was commissioned by the Silk Road Project and is dedicated to Marty Peretz and Anne Peretz with deep affection and thanks.

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Posted On: Providence, R.I. (Vocus) March 22, 2010

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