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  • Aug. 7, 2005
  • Ma Leads Musical Journey Along Ancient Trade Route

    KCRW's Tom Schnabel Hosts



    Sponsored by Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts

    Internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma returns to the Hollywood Bowl with the Silk Road Ensemble as part of KCRW's World Festival on Sunday, August 7, at 7 p.m. Now in the fifth year of their internationally acclaimed collaboration, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble continue to explore the musical cultures that flourished along the Silk Road - the ancient trade route between China and the West - with their latest recording for Sony Classical, entitled Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon, which spent 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard's charts.

    Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon features 15 new works - one is an ensemble improvisation - that encompass the full scope of the Silk Road Project, founded in 1998 by Yo-Yo Ma, who is also its artistic director. "By listening to and learning from the voices of an authentic musical tradition we become increasingly able to advocate for the worlds they represent," says Ma.

    The Silk Road is the name for the trade route that, for centuries, linked Europe and the Eastern world. Travel along the Silk Road resulted in a complex web of interconnections between cultures that affected not only formal aesthetic expression but folk expression as well in a vast array of cultures.

    KCRW's World Festival continues with the popular Reggae Night IV on August 28, featuring Culture, Maxi Priest, Hepcat and Israel Vibration, and Destination Hawaii on September 11, featuring Keali'i Reichel, Na Leo, Hula Halau Keali'i O Nalani and Hula Halau O Kamuela 'Elua.

    YO-YO MA is the founder and Artistic Director of The Silk Road Project. His many-faceted career is a testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences. Whether performing a new concerto, coming together with colleagues for chamber music, reaching out to young audiences and student musicians or exploring cultures and musical forms outside of the Western classical tradition, Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination. One of his goals is to explore music as a means of communication and as a vehicle for the migration of ideas across cultures. To that end, he has taken time to immerse himself in subjects as diverse as native Chinese music and its distinctive instruments and the music of the Kalahari people in Africa.

    Ma is an exclusive Sony Classical artist, and his discography of over 50 albums (including 16 Grammy winners) reflects his wide-ranging interests. Mr. Ma's most recent releases include Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon, with the Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone, Vivaldi's Cello with Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Paris: La Belle Époque, with pianist Kathryn Stott, and two Grammy-winning tributes to the music of Brazil, Obrigado Brazil and Obrigado Brazil - Live in Concert. Yo-Yo Ma was born to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four, and soon after came with his family to New York, where he enrolled in the Juilliard School. He sought out a traditional liberal arts education to build on his conservatory training, and graduated from Harvard University in 1976.

    THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE is not a fixed collective, but rather a group of like-minded musicians dedicated to exploring the relationship between tradition and innovation in music from the East and West. Each musician's career illustrates a unique response to what is arguably the paramount artistic challenge of our times: nourishing global connections while maintaining the integrity of art rooted in an authentic tradition. Most of the Ensemble musicians first came together at a Silk Road Project workshop at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts in July 2000 under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma. During last five years, various combinations of these artists, whose diverse careers encompass and often intermingle Western and non-Western classical, folk and popular music, have performed a variety of programs, both with and without Mr. Ma, in Silk Road Project concerts and festivals in Europe, Asia and North America.

    THE SILK ROAD PROJECT, INC., a not-for-profit arts organization, was founded in 1998 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who serves as its Artistic Director. The Project's purpose is to illuminate the Silk Road region's historical contribution to the cross-cultural diffusion of arts, technologies and musical traditions, identify the voices that best represent its cultural legacy today, and support innovative collaborations among outstanding artists from the lands of the Silk Road and the West.

    At the center of the Silk Road Project are a series of interdisciplinary festivals and residencies in North America, Europe, Central Asia, China and Japan, which began in summer 2001. Co-produced with major presenting organizations, museums and cultural institutions worldwide, the festivals will draw upon a new body of chamber works commissioned by The Silk Road Project as well as on traditional music from the lands of the Silk Road and existing works by Western composers who were profoundly influenced by Eastern traditions such as Ravel and Debussy. In fall 2004, the Silk Road Project co-produced a special professional training workshop in partnership with the Weill Institute of Music at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Boston Symphony at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. In July 2005, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble will perform at the World Expo in Nagoya, Japan, followed by performances at LaJolla SummerFest and the Hollywood Bowl.

    In addition to live performance events, the Project has co-produced three recordings: Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon (Sony Classical 2005); The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan (Smithsonian Folkways 2002); and Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet (Sony Classical 2001). Additional works include Along the Silk Road, a volume of essays and discussions of the present-day and historical Silk Road. Co-published by the Project, the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Washington Press, its topics include composition and ethnomusicology, art history and archaeology, science, photography and film. In yet another significant partnership with Ford Motor Company and The Asia Society, the Project has produced a comprehensive multimedia educational kit, "Silk Road Encounters." Supplementing traditional classroom materials, the kit includes a sourcebook, activity plans, audio and visual samplers as well as reference materials. Two films, "Beginnings: Silk Road Journeys" and "Silk Road Encounters," complement the Project's educational programs. For more information, please visit the Silk Road Project web site

    The HOLLYWOOD BOWL, one of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 37th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2005, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue at the 16th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; it is no wonder that the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.



    HOLLYWOOD BOWL, 2301 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood

    Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

    Siamak Aghaei, santur

    Mike Block, cello

    Nicholas Cords, viola

    Sandeep Das, tabla

    Joel Fan, piano

    Ganbaatar Khongorzul, long song

    Jonathan Gandelsman, violin

    Joseph Gramley, percussion

    Colin Jacobsen, violin

    Siamak Jahangiry, ney

    Kayhan Kalhor, kamanche

    Liu Lin, sanxian

    Max Mandel, viola

    Shane Shanahan, percussion

    Mark Suter, percussion

    Wu Man, pipa

    Wu Tong, sheng

    DaXun Zhang, bass

    Sponsored by Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts

    Tickets ($4 - $92) are on sale now at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, at all Ticketmaster outlets (Robinsons May, Tower Records, and Ritmo Latino locations), or online at Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850.2050 for further details.
    For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422; Cathy Williams, 213.972.3689; photos, 213.972.3034