The move next month is part of a new joint effort between the multidisciplinary arts and education organization, Harvard University, and the Rhode Island School of Design.
At RISD, the Silk Road Project will establish a residency for musicians, who will work across genres with the school's visual art and design students in areas including illustration, film animation and video, digital media, and arts education. The first residency begins immediately, with Ma and other Silk Road musicians arriving at RISD tomorrow for a three-day orientation visit.
Laura Freid, the project's CEO, said that the association at RISD was aimed at producing events such as a recent concert at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where the musicians played works inspired by the museum's works of art.
Other than that, Ma told the Journal, he doesn't know what to expect. "One of the great things about working with creative people is that you never know how things are going to turn out," the cellist said. "Obviously we'll be working with RISD students and faculty on a number of different levels, but I expect to learn as much from them as they do from me."
Harvard will work with the Silk Road Project to develop a series of interdisciplinary courses relating the art, literature, and music of the regions of the Central Asian trading route that gives the project its name.
Ma told the paper, "It's a tremendous opportunity. Over the past few months, we've gotten to know RISD and Providence very well. There's a lot of creative energy in the Providence area, and we look forward to being a part of it."
He added that he was eager to work with RISD students, who "have such an amazing passion and commitment to what they do. When you're around them you can't help but feed off their intensity."
The Silk Road project was founded in 1998, and since then has sponsored arts festivals and residencies in Europe, Asia, and North America, as well as producing three albums of music from the Silk Road's regions.