Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Perform At Roy Thomson Hall 3/19, 3/20

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, a multi-cultural collective of international musicians, will perform two different programs at Roy Thomson Hall on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20, both at 8:00 pm. Each performance will feature ancestral and newly commissioned works, and take listeners on an intriguing musical journey inspired by the rich heritage of the legendary Silk Road.

The Silk Road Project, the brainchild of Yo-Yo Ma, has been called the most fascinating phenomenon of today's world music scene. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this visionary venture continues to study, absorb and illuminate the many cross-cultural influences that flourished along the Silk Road, a series of trade routes that crisscrossed Eurasia for almost two thousand years. "The Silk Road Project was formed to explore connections from ancient times to the present," says Mr. Ma. "These links form pieces of a puzzle that combine to reveal a coherent picture of who we are, what our place is in the world, and why we do what we do." Since its inception, the project has connected musicians, composers, artists and audiences in 20 countries throughout Asia, Europe and North America; has released four CDs; and added more than 60 commissioned works to its repertoire from artists representing countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Italy, Lebanon, Mongolia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey, the United States and Uzbekistan. The current six-city North American tour is part of a two-year journey with performances and educational initiatives spanning three continents.

Yo-Yo Ma, the project's founder and Artistic Director, also enjoys a multi-faceted career as soloist, chamber musician and educator. He has earned 16 Grammy Awards, can be heard on more than 75 albums, has been named Musical America's 2009 Musician of the Year, and is a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

The musicians of the Silk Road Ensemble, including Yo-Yo Ma, are a distinguished group of virtuoso artists from North America, Europe, Central Asia, and the Near and Far East who perform on a wide variety of traditional and modern instruments and enjoy international careers that encompass and often intermingle Western and Eastern classical, folk and popular music. Some of the Silk Road instruments are shakuhachi (bamboo flute), tar (lute), kamancheh (small fiddle), tabla (drums), pipa (lute) and sheng (mouth organ). Toronto Symphony Orchestra Principal Double Bass Jeffrey Beecher is a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, touring frequently with the group when he is not on stage with the TSO.

The two performances are co-presented by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Roy Thomson Hall

The March 19 performance is sponsored by Enbridge Gas Distribution; the March 20 performance is sponsored by Lexus.

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