This music leapt across national boundaries in a Sophisticated, strange and wonderful way.
John von Rhein
The Chicago Tribune

Silkroad Press Room

Welcome to our press room. We offer members of the media a variety of resources to assist with research, reviews, stories, and articles.

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Ben Mandelkern

(617) 496-6314

Electronic Press Kit

New and featured releases

November 1, 2016

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma to Play across Asia

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma will travel across Asia this month for a six concert tour, preceded by gala performances with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) on November 11 and 12. Following the concerts in Singapore, the Ensemble will perform in Qingdao on November 14, Beijing on November 16, Seoul on November 18, and Taipei on November 20.

Silkroad in the news

“There was a roar … that even the evening’s muggy heat couldn’t dampen … And this excitement bristled throughout the 2½ hours of a musical fellowship … that wove the sounds and idioms of East and West, tradition and innovation, into a compellingly upbeat program.”

Silk Road Ensemble transports Wolf Trap audience across the world
The Washington Post – August 12, 2016

“Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble have surpassed themselves. … a bona-fide epic that sets a benchmark for excellence in world music and folk synthesis.”

Review: Sing Me Home
The Australian – June 25, 2016

“Beautifully shot, deeply philosophical … They don’t need to speak a common language: Their dazzling music says it all.”

‘The Music of Strangers’: A documentary looks at music — and so much more
The Washington Post – June 24, 2016

“These restless innovators and unruly explorers … are engaged deeply with preserving their native cultures, precisely by bringing them into the public eye and enabling them to evolve.”

Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project shines in stirring Morgan Neville documentary
The Boston Globe – June 17, 2016

“…Morgan Neville’s documentary is a joyous revelation, a group portrait of superb musicians from all over the world offering music as an emblem of what people can do in these fractious times when they live in concert with one another.”

‘The Music of Strangers’ Review: Grace Notes From All Over
The Wall Street Journal – June 10, 2016

“While this documentary … is lovely to watch, it’s even more beautiful to hear. … you’ll think this film wants for nothing.”

Review: ‘The Music of Strangers,’ on Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble
The New York Times – June 10, 2016

“… there’s no doubting that wonderful sounds will be in store. But that’s not all that’s on offer. For, as directed by Morgan Neville, ‘Strangers’ turns out to be as concerned with emotion as with performance, spending much of its time investigating how so much joyous music was able to come out of exploration, disturbance, even pain.”

Yo-Yo Ma’s international ensemble forms the heart of the ‘Music of Strangers’ doc
The Los Angeles Times – June 10, 2016

Yo-Yo Ma’s international ensemble forms the heart of the ‘Music of Strangers’ doc
The Los Angeles Times – June 10, 2016

Yo-Yo Ma’s musical mission for peace
BBC World News – June 7, 2016

The Music of Strangers and the companion album Sing Me Home are two examples of what people can do in the face of a changing world, an unknowing world.”

Yo-Yo Ma in conversation with Marco Werman and Cristina Pato
PRI’s The World – May 11, 2016

“[Silkroad] is about building bridges and not walls.”

How to Get Kids to Play Music, According to Yo-Yo Ma — And other lessons from the world’s greatest cellist
Mother Jones – April 22, 2016

Sing Me Home is a vivid portrait of the modern world in which home is not a fixed point, and at times avery elusive concept, a world in which the notion of where we are and the notion of where we’re from are often in conflict. And with it, the notion of who we are. But the rich possibilities of this outweigh the conflicts.”

Tuesday Reviewsday: Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble
KPCC: Southern California Public Radio – April 19, 2016

“And, of course, his boundary-crossing (literally) Silk Road Project – an ongoing vehicle for exploring Eurasian music and culture along the ancient Silk Road trade route – has been one of the most visionary arts initiatives of our time.”

Reflections on Yo-Yo Ma’s 60th
WNPR – October 22, 2015

“This symphonic film mixes world cinema and world music to create its own beautiful harmony.”

TIFF Review: ‘The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble’
POV Magazine — October 5, 2015

“A listener swept along by its wind encounters never-before-heard-music that seems at times familiar, but escapes human language’s definition.”

Silk Road Ensemble Documentary Tantalizes Fans in Toronto
San Francisco Classical Voice — September 22, 2015

“You can’t go wrong putting Yo-Yo Ma at the center of your film, as Oscar winner Morgan Neville (“20 Feet From Stardom”) clearly knows.”

Digging deeper into Toronto festival films
The Boston Globe – September 20, 2015

“A first-rate music film capturing a restless desire to communicate beyond the boundaries of any single idiom, The Music of Strangers watches as Yo-Yo Ma, a giant in the world of Western classical music, puts Bach and Beethoven aside to spend time with his multicultural Silk Road Ensemble.”

‘The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble’: TIFF Review
Hollywood Reporter – September 19, 2015

“What makes “The Music of Strangers” so fun to watch, however, and which tempers the seriousness of its subjects, is the diverse range of performance footage at play.”

Roger Ebert – September 19, 2015

“Ma is a firm believer that we are more powerful, intelligent and creative collectively,” Beecher said. “You don’t see many leaders having the confidence to do that. It’s really empowering.”

FEATURE | Life’s Intercultural Mashup: The Silk Road Project with Yo-Yo Ma
Musical Toronto – September 14, 2015

“In advance of the film’s world premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, rights to the new documentary “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble” have been acquired by The Orchard and HBO.”

HBO, The Orchard Land Yo-Yo Ma Documentary ‘The Music of Strangers
The Wrap – September 11, 2015

“If you don’t have hope, you’re in trouble.”

Yo-Yo Ma brings his message of hope to T.O.
The Toronto Star – September 10, 2015

“The musicians, pros and amateurs alike, joined in a spirit of unanimity and collegiality — ‘gracious and generous, flexible and collaborative’ -– to play in one loose-limbed, joyous jam session.”

Ma’s Silkroad Stretches Beyond
The Boston Musical Intelligencer – April 25, 2015

“If only the spirit of artistic sharing and peaceful coexistence the Silk Road Ensemble radiates so beautifully through its playing were somehow to permeate the trouble spots of today’s world, what a different, and better, planet it would be.”

Cellist Ma, Silk Road Connect the Multicultural Dots
Chicago Tribune – March 7, 2015

“Silk Road’s post-9/11 relevance, the importance of its artistic and educational mission, becomes more clear by the year. The cultural dialogue represented by its work may be seen, in its own way, as a forceful rejoinder to the events of the daily news.”

Silk Road Celebrates 15 Years of Cross-Pollination
Boston Globe – March 6, 2015

“The musicians played with vitality and a fiery display of virtuosity”

Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road Serve Up a Bracing and Colorful Evening
Boston Classical Review – March 5, 2015

“If anyone outside of politics and economics is qualified to comment on globalization, it’s this man.”

The World, Through the Creative Mind of Yo-Yo Ma
The Artery | WBUR – February 28, 2015

“There was no end of virtuosity among the Silk Road players, most notably Kayhan Kalhor, a consummate virtuoso and soulful singer on the kamancheh, an Iranian spike fiddle. Other stars were Kinan Azmeh, on clarinet; Mr. Umezaki, on shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute; and Wu Man on pipa, a Chinese lute.”

New York Philharmonic and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble Join Forces
New York Times – February 20, 2015

“Since its founding 15-plus years ago, cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project has literally spanned the globe.”

Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project Continues to Expand its Global Impact
CSO Sounds and Stories – January 16, 2015

“Whether it be music, passion-driven learning or cross-cultural dialogue, Yo-Yo Ma’s career – and the impact of his work on audiences, students and fellow musicians – seems to be proving that innovation can succeed where all else fails.”

Yo-Yo Ma, Bringing the World Together One Note at a Time

CCTV America – April 20, 2014

“What happens when you take ambitious, virtuosic musicians from nations across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and get them all to make music together? Shredding, that’s what, and plenty of it.”

The Silk Road Ensemble: A Playlist Without Borders
PopMatters – January 23, 2014

“Over the last several years, we have found that every tradition is the result of successful invention. One of the best ways to ensure the survival of traditions is by organic evolution, using all the tools available to us in the present day, from YouTube to the concert hall. “

Yo-Yo Ma: Behind the Cello
World Post – January 21, 2014

“Mr. Ma, in addition to having achieved the rare thing that is classical-music celebrity, traffics in big ideas. His—and by extension, Silk Road’s—particular brand of musical philosophy is, first and foremost, a belief in the arts as a critical yet oft-ignored ingredient in solving the world’s economic and political problems.”

Big Ideas Lead Musicians Down Silk Road
Wall Street Journal – October 13, 2013

“For musicians, much of life is spent on the road, performing in far-flung corners of the globe. They are thus uniquely positioned to take in the diversity of ideologies that people uphold as truth. But on a daily basis, they also see how music breaks boundaries. In the midst of political discord, the musicians within the Silk Road Project see an opportunity to foster other kinds of cross-cultural encounters.”

A Yo-Yo Ma Project Brings Together Musicians from Warring Nations
Atlantic Monthly – October 10, 2013

Press Release Archive

October 21, 2016

CEO and Executive Director Laura Freid to Depart

Laura Freid, CEO and Executive Director of Silkroad, will leave her post on October 28, 2016, to pursue her interest in cultural entrepreneurship, devoting her creative energy to developing new pathways of success for talented artists.

July 25, 2016

From Talking to Listening: Flipping the Focus in Learning


Silkroad joins the Harvard Graduate School of Education to host the fifth annual Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute for educators and artists from August 1 through 3. Learn more here.

July 7, 2016

Exploring Sounds of Home in Cross-Country U.S. Tour


The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma will bring its unique blend of tradition and innovation to summer festivals and stages across the U.S. next month. The ten-city tour will begin at Tanglewood, in western Massachusetts, on August 7, and conclude at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles. A complete schedule is available here.

June 13, 2016

Silkroad and Partners Bring Workshops and Screenings to Jordan


Participant Media, FilmAid International, and Silkroad have joined forces to bring a series of arts workshops and film screenings to Syrian refugees and locals in Jordanian communities and camps. Inspired by The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, the program will offer in-depth arts experiences to an estimated 1,000 children and adults who have been displaced by the conflict in Syria.

January 20, 2016

Yo-Yo Ma's Celebrated Silk Road Ensemble to Bring Cross-Cultural Musical Dialogue to CA and IN


Musicians from eight countries in residence at UCSB, with performances in Santa Barbara and Stanford, CA, and Carmel, IN

August 25, 2015

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble Documentary Film to Debut at TIFF on September 13, 2015


Yo-Yo Ma Will Attend the World-Premiere Screening at the Toronto International Film Festival; The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma Will Debut at Massey Hall on September 15

June 1, 2015

Silkroad’s Global Musician Workshop Draws Diversity to DePauw University School of Music


Silkroad’s inaugural Global Music Workshop will take place at the DePauw University School of Music in Greencastle, Indiana, June 8–12, 2015.

January 8, 2015

Yo-Yo Ma’s Groundbreaking Cross-Cultural Silk Road Ensemble Will Perform with the New York Philharmonic and Tour in the U.S.


February and March Concerts in New York; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Massachusetts; Illinois; and Indiana Will Culminate Silkroad’s 15th-Anniversary Season

October 2, 2014

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma Will Perform in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China in October and November 2014


A highlight of Silkroad’s 15th-anniversary celebration, Asia tour concerts will take place in Seoul and Daejeon, South Korea; Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo, Japan; Taipei and Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Shanghai, China, from October 28 through November 10, 2014.

August 20, 2014

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma’s Europe Concert Tour Will Include Performances in Izmir, Istanbul, Paris, Amsterdam, and Luxembourg


From September 3 through September 11, 2014, the critically acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble will travel to Europe for a concert tour with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bringing their unique border-crossing musical experience to audiences in Izmir and Istanbul, Turkey; Paris; Amsterdam; and Luxembourg. Filming will continue in Turkey for The Sound of Silk, a documentary by Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville about the Silk Road Ensemble

July 24, 2014

Studying the Artistic Process to Reignite Passion for Teaching and Learning


Silkroad’s third annual professional development program for educators and artists, “The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning,” will take place August 4–6, 2014, in collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

May 27, 2014

Silk Road Ensemble Teaching Artists Celebrate Passion-Driven Learning Through the Arts with Middle School Students at JHS 185 in Queens, NY


May 22, 2014

Silk Road Ensemble Joins Roster of Distinguished “Turnaround Artists” in Expanded Turnaround Arts Program Supporting Arts Education


The performers in the Silk Road Ensemble were designated “Turnaround Artists” in a newly expanded initiative designed to help turn around low-performing schools, narrow the achievement gap, and increase student engagement through the arts.

May 19, 2014

Silk Road Ensemble Artists to Support Turnaround Arts Students from Lame Deer, Montana, in First-Ever White House Talent Show


April 14, 2014

Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma at Harvard University to Spur New Thinking about Cultural Citizenship and Cultural Entrepreneurship


January 16, 2014

Yo-Yo Ma Applauds Oscar Nomination of Morgan Neville’s Documentary 20 Feet from Stardom


January 13, 2014

Morgan Neville directs 'The Sound of Silk' Documentary, Tells the Story of the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma


Award-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) is directing The Sound of Silk, an exciting new documentary about the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma.

December 3, 2013

Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project Brings Focus on Rivers Back to Harvard through New Music and Collaboration with Experts from Various Fields


September 30, 2013

Silk Road Ensemble Presents North America West Coast Concert Tour


September 18, 2013

Silk Road Project Celebrates 15 Years with Carnegie Hall Performance by the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma


August 1, 2013

Silk Road Project Shares Success with Learning In and Through the Arts at Harvard Graduate School of Education


July 26, 2013

Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma Continues to Cross Musical Boundaries with the Release of 'A Playlist Without Borders'


July 10, 2013

NEH Supports New Documentary about Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble