The Zankel concerts are a culmination of a Weill Music Institute Professional Training Workshop called "Tradition and Innovation: A Workshop with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble on Mentoring, Creating, and Communicating."
Carnegie Hall commissioned three established composers (Gabriela Lena Frank, Osvaldo Golijov and Evan Ziporyn) and two emerging composers (Christopher Adler and Angel Lam) to write new works for instruments native to the countries on the traditional Silk Road, using different combinations of strings and percussion.
Works by Jeeyoung "Jacqueline" Kim and Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, which were commissioned by the Silk Road Project, will also receive premieres, as well as the chamber version of Osvaldo Golijov's Azul, an adagio for cello and orchestra which Ma premiered this past summer at the Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals.
The concerts will take place at 4 p.m and 8 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday (September 16-17). Among the other works to be premiered are Adler's Music for a Royal Palace, Frank's Ritmos Anchinos and Lam's Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain.
The Silk Road Ensemble is a collective of approximately 50 musicians and composers who are interested in cross-cultural dialogue and in exploring the historical contribution of the ancient Silk Road to the arts. Its members include the pipa (Chinese lute) player Wu Man, kamancheh (Persian fiddle) player Kayhan Kalhor, tabla (Indian drum) player Sandeep Das, shakuhachi (Japanese flute) player Kojiro Umezaki, violinist Colin Jacobsen and bassist Jeffrey Beecher. The ensemble tours (sometimes without Ma) in concerts and festivals in Europe, Asia and North America.