A Message from Yo-Yo Ma

The recent executive order suspending immigration to the United States from seven countries has left many of us with feelings of deep concern, disappointment, and sadness.

February 13, 2017

The recent executive order suspending immigration to the United States from seven countries has left many of us with feelings of deep concern, disappointment, and sadness. In an instant, the order threatened to make it harder for Silkroad to bring together the extraordinary musicians and artists from around the world who are at the heart of our cultural work.

More importantly, we feel that these restrictions are at odds with Silkroad’s core philosophy: that the best way to build cultural understanding is not to close doors but to engage with each other, to share ideas and experiences within communities and across traditional boundaries. We believe that this exchange confirms and nourishes our shared humanity and permits the kinds of collaborations that generate vibrant communities, spark creative technologies, create meaningful art, produce cures for disease, and — in the long run — make us all safer.

At Silkroad, music is the language we choose to express the richness of cultural collaboration. In recent weeks, my colleagues in the Silk Road Ensemble have been sharing rhythms and melodies from Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa with communities all over the country. At a concert in Santa Clara, California, for example, they concluded with an improvisation on a traditional Iraqi folk melody, playing on instruments from around the world — a celebration of the ways in which culture brings us together.

— Yo-Yo Ma, Founder and Artistic Director

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