Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad in 1998 as a reminder that even as rapid globalization resulted in division, it brought extraordinary possibilities for working together. Seeking to understand this dynamic, he recognized the historical Silk Road as a model for cultural collaboration – for the exchange of ideas, tradition, and innovation across borders. In a groundbreaking experiment, he brought together musicians from the lands of the Silk Road to co-create a new artistic idiom: a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world.
This initial gathering of artists was rooted in a simple, initial question: “What happens when strangers meet?” And thus Silkroad was born, as both a touring ensemble comprised of world-class musicians from all over the globe, and a social impact organization working to make a positive impact across borders through the arts.
Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad creates music that engages difference, sparking cultural collaboration and high quality arts education to help build a more hopeful and inclusive world. What does this look like?
- The Grammy Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble — Silkroad thrills audiences worldwide with a collective of artists representing dozens of nationalities and artistic traditions, demonstrating how great beauty can emerge from great difference.
- Creation of new music — Silkroad builds upon a musical language founded in difference and collaboration that draws on the rich tapestry of world traditions that make up our many-layered contemporary identities.
- Social impact initiatives — Silkroad brings music, hope, and healing to underserved, culturally rich, urban, rural, indigenous, and refugee communities.
- Educational partnerships — Silkroad uses the arts to ignite passions and foster education in students, teachers, and musicians through training workshops and residency programs in public schools, universities, prisons, and indigenous and refugee communities.
Brighton, MA 02135 USA