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Highlights From the Silkroad Ensemble Residency at Holy Cross

Visiting campus regularly in the last three years, the Grammy Award-winning ensemble has made a significant impact.
March 31st, 2020 by 

Members of the Silkroad Ensemble perform with Holy Cross and high school students.
. Members of the Silkroad Ensemble perform with Holy Cross and high school students.

Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Ensemble preforms pop-up performances around campus.
. Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Ensemble preforms pop-up performances around campus.

Silkroad teaching at Burncoat High School.
. Silkroad teaching at Burncoat High School.

Brooks Concert Hall during the performance of
. Brooks Concert Hall during the performance of "Falling Out of Time."

Throughout their multi-year residency hosted by Arts Transcending Borders at the College of the Holy Cross, Silkroad Ensemble has engaged the community in activities and conversations that explore the roles that passion and art can play in learning.

Founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Silkroad Ensemble creates music that engages difference, sparking radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning to build a more hopeful world. Since their first visit to campus in 2017, the ensemble has returned each semester to work with students and faculty on creating intersections between art and the world. At the end of January, Silkroad Ensemble held their final event of their residency, an evening highlighting the percussionists of the group.

“The partnership between Holy Cross and Silkroad Ensemble has been a powerful example of the diverse array of opportunities for the integration of the arts into a liberal arts educational experience,” said Margaret Freije, provost and dean of the College. “In their multi-year residency, they’ve engaged with students and faculty across disciplines, helping our students cultivate their skills and talents while engaging with questions that lead them to a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them, through the rich lens that the arts can offer.”

Take a look back at a few of the highlights of Silkroad’s time with the Holy Cross community.

2017: Grammy Award-Winning Silkroad Ensemble to Engage in Three-Year Residency at Holy Cross

Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Ensemble preforms pop-up performances around campus.

Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble performs pop-up performances around campus.

“The Silkroad Ensemble has been using art to transcend borders since our inception, so we are incredibly excited to be embarking on a long-term relationship with an academic institution that so explicitly shares our vision for the world,” says Shane Shanahan, co-artistic director for Silkroad. “We can’t wait to collaborate more robustly with the faculty and students at Holy Cross to make our hopeful vision a reality.”

Read more.

2018: Hundreds of High Schoolers, Resettled Peoples Find Connection Through Art

Members of the Silkroad Ensemble perform with Holy Cross and high school students.

Members of the Silkroad Ensemble perform with Holy Cross and high school students.

“Over the course of a week-long residency at the College of the Holy Cross, wherever the Silkroad Ensemble went — whether on campus or throughout Worcester — connection followed.

Silkroad visited classrooms to work with students across the board — from first-year Montserrat students to upperclassmen in the Honors Program — infusing music into their seemingly unrelated courses and drawing unexpected connections.”

Read more.

2019: The Arts in Practice: Grammy Award-Winning Silkroad Ensemble Joins Holy Cross Students to Teach in Worcester High School

Silkroad teaching at Burncoat High School.

Silkroad teaching at Burncoat High School.

“Listening to an improvised musical piece by a Grammy Award-winning musician on a variety of percussion instruments might not seem like a typical Monday morning for a college student. Illustrating that music with pencil and paper alongside 15 high school students is even more atypical.

But that’s exactly what Elena Wang ’20, a music and mathematics double major, was doing at Burncoat High School in Worcester. Wang, a lifelong pianist, teamed up with Shane Shanahan and Kaoru Watanabe, artists from the Silkroad Ensemble, a group dedicated to sparking radical cultural collaboration, to co-teach an interactive workshop to visual arts students in Burncoat High School’s Fine Arts Magnet Program.”

Read more.

2019: Renowned Holy Cross Composer Holds World Premiere of ‘Falling Out of Time’ on Campus

Brooks Concert Hall during the performance of "Falling Out of Time."

Brooks Concert Hall during the performance of “Falling Out of Time.”

“After much anticipation, ‘Falling Out of Time,’ a song cycle by Osvaldo Golijov, Loyola Professor of Music, had its world premiere in front of a packed crowd in Brooks Concert Hall on October 31.

From the get-go, Golijov knew who he wanted to perform the intricate piece: artists from Silkroad Ensemble, who are in their third year as artists-in-residence at the College of the Holy Cross. Golijov and the artists worked together throughout the writing process, starting with work-in-progress readings and culminating in an intensive four-day workshop at the Thomas P. Joyce ’59 Contemplative Center just before the musical debut.”

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