Sunday, November 17, 2019, 7 PM

Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, VA 24061
Street and Davis Performance Hall, Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre

Category A $75 | Category B $60 | Category C $40
$10 students with ID and youth 18 and under, 20%-30% subscription discounts available


A New Song Cycle from Osvaldo Golijov

"[Silkroad’s] vision of international cooperation is not what we read in our daily news reports. Theirs is the better world available if we, like these extraordinary musicians, agree to make it one.”  —Los Angeles Times

Yo-Yo Ma conceived the Silkroad Ensemble in 1998 as a reminder that even as rapid globalization resulted in division, it brought extraordinary possibilities for working together. Seeking to understand this dynamic, he began to learn about the historical Silk Road, recognizing in it a model for productive cultural collaboration, for the exchange of ideas and tradition alongside commerce and innovation. And in a radical experiment, he brought together musicians from the lands of the Silk Road to co-create a new artistic idiom, a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world.

For this performance, Silkroad has teamed up with composer Osvaldo Golijov to conceive a brand new song cycle, Falling Out of Time, based on Israeli writer David Grossman’s book exploring grief and loss. The work features vocalist Wu Tong and singer-songwriter Nora Fischer.

Drawing on the English translation of the text, Golijov has conceived this hour-long song cycle for 13 members of the Silkroad Ensemble, the collective whose delicacy of musical expression he describes as like “a harp of a thousand hairs.” Golijov’s vulnerable, exposed composition imagines the ensemble as a magnified blues guitar, articulating a counterpoint of tender rage and raw intimacy impossible in an orchestra.

The song cycle—which began workshops in fall 2017—expresses a timeless, universal experience in a musical mode that itself rejects barriers, examining the nuances of grief in a voice that transcends borders.

The Silkroad Ensemble creates music that engages difference, sparking radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning to build a more hopeful world. The group has been called “vibrant and virtuosic” by the Wall Street Journal, “one of the 21st century’s great ensembles” by the Vancouver Sun, and a “roving musical laboratory without walls” by the Boston Globe. Silkroad musicians and composers hail from more than 20 countries, drawing on a rich tapestry of traditions to create a new musical language—a uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects the ensemble’s many-layered contemporary identities.

These Grammy Award-winning artists seek and practice radical cultural collaboration in many forms, creating and presenting new music, teacher and musician training workshops, and residency programs in schools, museums, and communities. Silkroad musicians appear in many configurations and settings. Off the stage, they lead professional development workshops and experiment with new media and genres to share Silkroad’s approach to radical cultural collaboration.

The Silkroad Ensemble has performed in more than 100 cities in over 30 countries and has recorded seven albums. Sing Me Home, which won the 2016 Grammy for Best World Music Album, was developed and recorded alongside the documentary feature The Music of Strangers, from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville.


This performance is supported in part by a gift from Don and Libby Drapeau.


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