Ma said, "Chicago has a long history of being at the crossroads of the world. Since the city's founding, it has been the site of epic world's fairs, a major transportation hub, and a meeting place for people from every corner of the globe. There is no better city for such a unique collaboration. Chicago will be enriched by embracing the Silk Road, and the city will add another chapter to the Silk Road's vast history."
Seventy local cultural and community organizations will take part in presenting more than 250 events alongside the major institutions. The Silk Road Ensemble musicians will offer master classes, performances, and demonstrations in Chicago schools and cultural institutions throughout the year.
Silk Road Chicago launches June 1 with a citywide celebration, featuring music, theater, dance, visual, and culinary arts events, that runs through September 30. Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble will perform for the first time in Millennium Park at a free concert on June 26.
Symphony Center's 2006-07 season features more than 50 classical, world music, and educational performances as part of the Silk Road project. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Silk Road-inspired programming launches with three free events kicking off its 2006-07 season. Symphony Center's opening-night gala on September 30 features Ma, the CSO, and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
Throughout the year, many CSO concerts will offer repertoire inspired by the Silk Road; the theme will be further reflected in 2006-07 Symphony Center Presents programs and concerts. Silk Road Chicago at the CSO will culminate with a week-long residency by Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble from April 12-21.
From the second century BC to the 14th century, the Silk Road was a vast network of trade routes that connected China to the Mediterranean. The Silk Road Project is made up of musicians and instruments from along the route.