UNIVERSITY PARK — The Silkroad Ensemble, a music group named for the ancient trade route that exchanged commodities and innovations between southern Europe and eastern Asia, will make its State College premiere in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Eisenhower Auditorium.
Silkroad musicians appear in many configurations and settings. At Penn State, 13 of the ensemble’s musicians will perform. They are: Dan Brantigan, trumpet; Shawn Conley, bass; Nicholas Cords, viola; Biella da Costa and Nora Fischer, vocals; Jeremy Flower, electronics; Johnny Gandelsman and Mazz Swift, violins; Kayhan Kalhor, kemancheh; Karen Ouzounian, cello; Shane Shanahan, percussion; Wu Man, pipa; and Wu Tong, vocals and sheng. Silkroad founder Yo-Yo Ma will not perform in this concert.
The program is scheduled to feature works by Osvaldo Golijov, including “Tancas Serradas a Muru” and excerpts from “Falling Out of Time” and “La Pasión Segun San Marcos”; an excerpt from Jason Moran’s “Moderato 400”; and compositions by Silkroad artists Conley, Kalhor, Man and Tong.
Tickets for the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State presentation—$52 for an adult, $15 for a University Park student, and $42 for a person 18 and younger—are available online at cpa.psu.edu or by phone at 814-863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at three State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). A grant from the University Park Student Fee Board makes Penn State student prices possible.
“In a world filled with a legion of seemingly endless cultural and religious divisions and conflicts fueled by the ever-expanding networks of both real and fake news, it’s hard to remember the commonality that we do share,” observed a writer for the website San Francisco Classical Voice. “Artists have always sought new sources for inspiration, and the Silkroad Ensemble has been blurring and blending cultural boundaries successfully for two decades, driven by its maxim, ‘Music, radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning for a more hopeful world.’”
The ensemble 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.
The group’s roster of musicians and composers includes artists from more than 20 countries. Together, they take inspiration from diverse traditions to fashion a new musical language that speaks to contemporary audiences living in a world that’s never been more connected.
Silkroad has performed in more than 30 countries and recorded seven albums. “Sing Me Home,” a 2016 release, won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.
Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, is offered one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.
Free film screeningA screening of “The Music of Strangers,” Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville’s 2016 documentary about Silkroad, will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium on the University Park campus. The screening is free and open to the public.
“The Music of Strangers,” the latest film from the creators of the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom” and the critically hailed “Best of Enemies,” follows an ever-changing lineup of performers drawn from the ensemble’s more than 50 instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers. The artists gather in locations across the world to explore the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution.
Blending performance footage, personal interviews and archival film, Neville and producer Caitrin Rogers focus on the journeys of a small group of ensemble mainstays to create an intensely personal chronicle of passion, talent and sacrifice. Through these moving individual stories, the filmmakers paint a portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind.
After the documentary screening, selected Silkroad musicians will engage in a question-and-answer session with audience members.