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Wilmington Music: Along the Silk Road

Monday, March 11, 2019

UNCW Presents the Silkroad Ensemble at Kenan Auditorium March 27th! Enjoy some Wilmington music while learning about and experiencing culture in a dynamic way from these world-renown musicians. 

Flashback to your high school history class and you’ll likely remember learning about the Silk Road. A series of trade routes that opened communication between East Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, West Asia and Southern Europe, the Silk Road connected the East and the West, serving as a cultural bridge for products and ideas. 

Silk flowed westward, and wool, gold and silver traveled eastward. Although its intended purpose was to create an avenue for trade, the Road also became a way for people to share their cultures and ideas. Nestorian Christianity and Buddhism reached China from India thanks to the Silk Road, and both the East and West started adapting their agricultural practices, military techniques, dress styles, dance moves, and music traditions based on what they learned during their travels. 

As a response to a world confronted with rapid globalization and increasing division, Yo-Yo Ma established the Silkroad Ensemble in 1998 as a “a new artistic idiom, a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world.” At its core, the Silkroad Ensemble is music project that practices cultural collaboration, trains teachers and musicians, and leads community residency programs, sparking radical cultural collaboration. 

While the historical Silk Road explored and spread cultural traditions via its route, the Silkroad Ensemble is a modern and mobile embodiment of the connection that the historical Silk Road represented. 

Yo Yo Ma's Wilmington MusicA Chinese-American cellist born in Paris, Yo-Yo Ma began to study the cello at age four. He eventually moved with his family to New York City, continued his musical studies at Juilliard and later graduated from Harvard University with a degree in anthropology. His discography includes over 100 albums, including a whopping 19 Grammy Award winners. Across all musical projects and albums, Yo-Yo Ma creates music that pushes at the boundaries of traditional classical music, bridging the connection between genres, culture, and people.  

At the Nancy Hanks Lecture in April 8, 2013, Yo-Yo Ma said, “as musicians, we transcend technique in order to seek out the truths in our world in a way that gives meaning and sustenance to individuals and communities. That’s art for life’s sake. 

Enjoy art for life’s sake with the Silkroad Ensemble at Kenan Auditorium March 27th. Tickets are available online or at the UNCW Arts Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 12-4 p.m. The UNCW Office of the Arts is also excited to present a series of Silkroad Ensemble workshops and lectures leading up to their Kenan Auditorium performance. Learn more and register ahead of time here.  

-Lindsay Lake