Silkroad Ensemble Unites People Through the Power of Music

Silkroad is a program founded by American-Chinese cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998. When creating Silkroad, Ma wanted to express his belief that even division brings fresh opportunities for working in unison. Wanting to expand on this dynamic, Ma designed this program that continues to strengthen through the collaboration of artists from different cultures and genres that could be brought together and displayed through various performances. 

The Silkroad program still stays true to the beliefs as it ignites the flame of musical collaboration that aims for a more inclusive world. The Silkroad organization has an ensemble that has recorded eight CDs and their 2009 CD, “Off the Map”, was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album category at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011. 

The Silkroad Ensemble is a musical collective and a part of Silkroad. The ensemble is a loose collective of as many as 59 musicians, composers, arrangers, visual artists, and storytellers from Eurasian cultures. 

On Sunday, March 3rd, 2024, flutist and percussionist Kauro Watanabe joined forces with Balla Kouyate alongside students at the Boston Conservatory to present a mix of classical, traditional African, and Japanese pieces. This performance focused on a mix of these different cultures as a symbol of unity, staying true to Yo-Yo Ma’s mission when founding Silkroad.

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