Silk Road Project

Silk Road Project

Silk Road Project, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization, initiated by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, promoting collaboration among artists and institutions, promoting multicultural artistic exchange, and studying the ebb and flow of ideas among different cultures along the Silk Road. The Project encompasses a number of artistic, cultural and educational programs. It has been described as an "arts and educational organization that connects musicians, composers, artists and audiences around the world" and "an initiative to promote multicultural artistic collaboration."

In 2009, the Project began an educational pilot program for middle-school students in New York City public schools. The program, called Silk Road Connect, focuses on passion-driven education through arts integration and is being developed with help from education experts at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In July 2012, the Silk Road Project and Harvard Graduate School of Education presented "The Arts and Passion-Driven Learning," an arts education institute that modeled the Silk Road Connect arts integration approach.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Silk Road Project presented performances and programs by the Silk Road Ensemble in North America, Asia and Europe from 2008 to 2010. Its anniversary season began with the Silk Road Ensemble's performance with Yo-Yo Ma of the United Nations Day Concert in October 2008. Tenth-anniversary activities also included a North American concert tour by the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma in March 2009, which featured the North American premiere of Layla and Majnun, a chamber arrangement for the Silk Road Ensemble of a traditional Azerbaijani opera.

The organization has published a book, Along the Silk Road, and commissioned more than 70 new chamber music compositions. The Silk Road Project has also created educational materials entitled "Silk Road Encounters" and has partnered with the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) to produce Along the Silk Road, a curriculum for students in grades six-10, and The Road to Beijing, a documentary made available with related lessons about Beijing in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. As of December 2008, the Silk Road Ensemble has recorded five CDs. The group's 2009 CD Off the Map was nominated in the Best Classical Crossover Album category at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011.

The Silk Road Project is affiliated with Harvard University; the organization moved its offices to the Harvard campus in Boston, Massachusetts, in July 2010 at the outset of a renewed five-year affiliation with the University, designed to enable new artistic and cultural opportunities at Harvard and in surrounding communities. The Silk Road Project has been affiliated with both Harvard University and the Rhode Island School of Design in the USA, where the Silk Road Ensemble engaged with faculty and students in annual residencies. The Silk Road Project's partnership with Rhode Island School of Design took place from 2005 through 2010. As part of Silk Road Project programming, the Silk Road Ensemble has also been involved in short-term residencies at Museum Rietberg in Zurich, Switzerland; The Art Institute of Chicago; University of California, Santa Barbara; Rubin Museum of Art in New York City; Nara National Museum in Nara, Japan; and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

At its height from the second century BCE until the 14th century, the Silk Road was a vast network of trade routes that connected China to the Mediterranean through Greater Iran. For centuries ideas, objects, and people traveled along the Silk Road, making it one of the most fluid and broad arenas of exchange the world has known and a major conduit of culture and civilization. The name Silk Road Project serves as a metaphor of the cultural exchange of ideas envisioned by the project.

Read more about Silk Road ProjectThe Silk Road Ensemble, Silk Road Chicago

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