World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, fresh from a performance at the Obama inauguration, may be most closely identified with Western classical music, but he's a inveterate musical adventurer who loves to explore the limitless connections among genres, cultures, and disciplines. His Silk Road Project, now celebrating its 10th anniversary with a variety of initiatives including a tour that will feature different repertoires Monday and Tuesday, was inspired by the ancient, fabled Silk Road, a network of trade routes that linked Europe, Asia, and the diverse lands in between, fostering unprecedented cultural exchanges. The Ensemble itself is an expansive collective of composers and performing artists from many countries, pared to the current 13- to 16-member touring company. Its sound is rich and exotic, putting Eastern and Western instrumentation and genres together in exciting combinations that offer fresh perspectives on the notion of fusion. Among the highlights of this tour will be the premiere (Monday only) of Layla and Majnun, an opera based on ancient Persian and Arabian love stories, featuring Azerbaijan vocalists Alim and Fargana Qasimova, father and daughter skilled in a complex singing style called mugham. The remainder of the repertoire both nights will be drawn from Indian, Latin American, Chinese, and Persian traditions.
Mondays, Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: March 16. Continues through March 17, 2009