The Silk Road Project

The Silk Road Ensemble’s Residency at Harvard University:
November 26-30, 2007

The Silk Road Ensemble’s 2007 residency at Harvard focuses on developing further a chamber arrangement of “Layla and Majnun,” a classic Azerbaijani opera and Arabic love story dating back to the seventh century. The Office for the Arts has given the Silk Road Project the run of the just-renovated New College Theatre (capacity 275, formerly the Hasty Pudding) for the week. In addition to rehearsing and performing there, the Silk Road Project will invite classes and other student groups to workshops, open rehearsals and other programs. On the evenings of November 29 and 30, the Ensemble will present workshop performances of “Layla and Majnun.”

The Arthur M. Sackler Museum is presenting an installation of paintings that illustrate the story of “Layla and Majnun”—this exhibit will be on view from September 2007 to February 2008. Other residency activities are detailed below.

 Silk Road Ensemble Artists at Harvard

Yo-Yo Ma, artistic director and cello
Alim Qasimov, vocal
Fargana Qasimova, vocal
Ali Asgar Mammadov, tar
Rauf Islamov, kamancheh
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Jonathan Gandelsman, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Jeffrey Beecher, bass
Shane Shanahan, percussion
Kojiro Umezaki, shakuhachi
Yang Wei, pipa

Read the press release.

The Silk Road Project

Inspired by the interchange of culture, ideas and innovations along the historic trade route, the Silk Road Project is a not-for-profit arts and educational organization that connects musicians, composers, artists, and audiences from across the globe. Founded in 1998 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who serves as its artistic director, and led by Laura Freid, executive director and CEO, the Silk Road Project is a catalyst for promoting innovation and learning through cross-cultural and interdisciplinary partnerships. The Silk Road Project presents performances by the Silk Road Ensemble; commissions interdisciplinary works of music, visual art, and storytelling; and develops educational materials and programming.

The Silk Road Ensemble

The Silk Road Ensemble is a select group of performers and composers drawn from a wide range of cultural and international musical heritages. A collective of internationally renowned artists and musicians interested in exploring the relationship between tradition and innovation in music from the East and West, the Ensemble presents innovative performances that explore traditional and contemporary music from their diverse backgrounds, provide a creative platform for their own artistic growth and engage audiences in learning further about the Silk Road.

The Silk Road Project at Harvard University

Education is central to the Silk Road Project’s initiatives. With a goal of igniting a passion for learning, and for teaching, through the arts, the Silk Road Project is affiliated with both Harvard University and Rhode Island School of Design, where the Silk Road Ensemble collaborates with students and faculty as artists in residence. The Silk Road Project residency, in the third year of a five-year collaboration with Harvard, is administered by the Office for the Arts and the Department of Music.

At Harvard, the Ensemble engages in residencies to interact with students, conduct workshops and share works in progress. Led by a wish to inspire self-motivated learning, the Silk Road Project is working with the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences to facilitate multi-cultural artistic and intellectual collaborations and to develop interdisciplinary curricula in the arts, literature, history and music of the Silk Road region.

For more information, visit the Silk Road Project’s website.