Hailed as “one of the 21st century’s great ensembles” by the Vancouver Sun, the Silk Road Ensemble draws together distinguished performers and composers from more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Since the Ensemble formed under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma in 2000, the group’s innovative artists have eagerly explored contemporary musical crossroads.
Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Ensemble
"We all feel we're better musicians as a result of the Silk Road Project. We were taken to musical areas we didn't know well, and have widened our own musical worlds. We have more tools with which to express ourselves. More importantly, I feel more human, more connected to others." - Yo-Yo Ma
The Ensemble’s approach is experimental and democratic, founded on collaboration and risk taking, on continual learning and sharing among a kaleidoscope of cultures and art forms. Members explore one another’s traditions, celebrating the multiplicity of approaches to music from around the world. They also develop new repertoire that responds to the multicultural reality of our global society.
The Silk Road Ensemble has performed to critical acclaim throughout Asia, Europe and North America and recorded five albums. The Ensemble's most recent recording, Off the Map, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album in 2011. The album was produced by Johnny.
Johnny has performed with the Silk Road Ensemble since 2002, which has allowed him to work closely with great masters of musical traditions from along the ancient trading route. He appears on the SRE's albums Off the Map, New Impossibilities and Beyond the Horizon. Johnny has played a vital role in the Ensemble's exploration of the music of the Roma people as well as the group's modern adaptation of an Azeri opera based on the timeless story of Layla and Majnun, which premiered in the U.S. in the spring of 2009 to rave reviews. As a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, Johnny has performed all over the United States, Europe and Asia.