Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma on a Six-City North American Tour

Program to Feature North American Premiere of a Multimedia Performance of Classic Arabian Love Story Layla and Majnun

I just got this in...

As it celebrates ten years of connecting the world’s neighborhoods, the Silk Road Project will present the North American tour of the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma from March 6-20, 2009, with concerts in Providence, RI; Boston, MA; North Bethesda, MD; Ann Arbor, MI; Minneapolis, MN; and Toronto, Ontario. The Silk Road Project, a not-for-profit artistic, cultural and educational organization, was founded by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998 as a catalyst to promote innovation and learning through the arts.

A highlight of the tour will be the North American premiere of Layla and Majnun, adapted from a beloved Central Asian opera, which is itself based on a series of ancient Arabian and Persian tales of ill-fated love often likened to Romeo and Juliet. The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma has created a multimedia chamber arrangement of the opera incorporating mugham, a complex form of vocal expression from Azerbaijan, and instrumentation from Asian and Western traditions. The performances of Layla and Majnun will feature Alim Qasimov, the leading performer of the opera Layla and Majnun.

The varied tour repertoire will also include works commissioned by the Silk Road Project including:

  • Ritmos Anchinos (Anchino Rhythms), which reflects American composer Gabriela Lena Frank’s Peruvian-Jewish-Chinese heritage and incorporates Latino/Latin American mythology, archeology, art, poetry and folk music into Western classical forms
  • Sulvasutra by U.S. composer Evan Ziporyn, which is based on an ancient Sanskrit treatise
  • Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain by Angel Lam, a composer who grew up in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, in memory of her grandmother
  • Paths of Parables, a work with narration in five movements by Uzbek composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, based on Sufi parables
  • Sacred Cloud Music by Chinese composer Zhao Jiping, which was constructed around one of the earliest-known pieces of Chinese music, dating from 640 B.C.E.
  • Ascending Bird, an arrangement of a traditional Persian folk melody by Silk Road Ensemble members Siamak Aghaei and Colin Jacobsen that tells the “popular mythical story of a bird attempting to fly to the sun.”

“Encouraging and presenting new music inspired by Persian, Azeri, Chinese, Central Asian and Indian traditions is one of the most magical aspects of our work,” said Laura Freid, chief executive officer & executive director of the Silk Road Project. “As the Silk Road Project celebrates our 10th anniversary, we are pleased to share the creative efforts of our globe-spanning collective of musicians and composers with new audiences in North America.”

In Ann Arbor on March 14, Yo-Yo Ma and Ensemble members will conduct a “Creating a Life with Music” performance workshop for music students, moving beyond technique and theory to address musical expression, careers in music and what it means to be a musician in today’s global culture.

March 6-20, 2009 Concert Tour: North America Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

March 9, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.: Symphony Hall, Boston, MA – Program 1
March 11, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.: Strathmore Hall, North Bethesda, MD – Program 1
March 13, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.: Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI – Program 1
March 14, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.: Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI – Program 2
March 16, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.: Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN – Program 1
March 17, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.: Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN – Program 2
March 19, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.: Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Program 1
March 20, 2009, at 8:00 p.m.: Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Program 2

Program 1
Gabriela Lena Frank Ritmos Anchinos
Evan Ziporyn Sulvasutra
Sapo Perapaskero Turceasca
Uzeyir Hajibeyov Layla and Majnun

Program 2
Silk Road Suite    Improvisation    Wandering Winds
   Kayhan Kalhor    Mountains Are Far Away
   Zhao Jiping    Sacred Cloud Music
   Shane Shanahan    Saidi Swing
   Rabih Abou-Khalil    Arabian Waltz

Angel Lam      Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain

Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky   Paths of Parables
      I. The Answered Unanswered Question
      II. The Preacher’s Word
      III. Form and Content
      IV. Black Angel
      V. The Father, the Son and the Donkey

Persian Traditional    Ascending Bird


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