Pop-Up Summer Residencies: The Silk Road Ensemble

May–July 2016

Musicians from the Silk Road Ensemble took part in a series of short residencies at the Getty Center, creating a constellation of musical events inspired by the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road. These pop-up musical programs were held across the Getty campus and gave visitors opportunities to engage with Ensemble artists and to learn about their creative processes. The series concluded with a special, outdoor multimedia presentation at which the Silk Road Ensemble performed original music alongside a screening of the silent film classic The Cave of the Silken Web.

The Artists
Since 2000, the Silk Road Ensemble has been exploring how the arts can advance global understanding, deepen learning, and promote innovation. Under the artistic direction of cellist Yo-Yo Ma and representing a global array of cultures, the Ensemble's musicians model new forms of cultural understanding through performances, workshops, and residencies. Inspired by the exchange of ideas that occurred along the historical Silk Road, these global artists draw on a rich tapestry of traditions that make up our shared heritage, creating a new musical language—a uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects our many-layered contemporary identities.

The Ensemble's residencies at the Getty brought together musicians and sounds from across the globe. Lead artists included Iranian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor, Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, and Japanese-Danish performer and composer Kojiro Umezaki, who played the shakuhachi.

Since its creation, the Ensemble has toured throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, and has recorded six albums. Their latest album, Sing Me Home, was developed and recorded alongside the new documentary feature The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble from Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Morgan Neville.

This program was made possible by the generous support of Jim and Anne Rothenberg.


This program complemented the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road.