“The Silkroad is as American as it is possible to get in spirit, even as many of the players are from elsewhere; for what is more American than the gathering of influences from disparate areas of the globe to create something unique and fantastic.” — Rhiannon Giddens
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad 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.
As a social-impact organization and home to a Grammy Award-winning musical ensemble, Silkroad works to inspire collaboration in innovative ways that add more equity and justice into the world through the power of the arts. Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad reaches new heights through a commitment to new music, a re-sparked mission towards cultural collaboration, and a reinvigorated focus to high-quality arts education that both reflects its mission and the times in which we live.