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Watch: Meet Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in Exclusive ‘The Music of Strangers’ Clip

Watch: Meet Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in Exclusive 'The Music of Strangers' Clip


READ MORE: 20 Feet From Stardom’ Director Morgan Neville Returns to Sundance with ‘Best of Enemies’

After exploring the debates between Gore Vidal and William Buckley Jr. in the summer’s critically acclaimed “Best of Enemies,” documentarian Morgan Neville is returning to the topic that won him an Oscar for “20 Feet From Stardom.” Currently at TIFF with both “Keith Richards: Under the Influence” and “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble,” Neville is back exploring musical geniuses and their stimulating creative journeys. The latter is an exciting look at the titular Silk Road Ensemble, an international musical collective created by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

With “The Music of Strangers” world premiering at this year’s TIFF, Indiewire is excited to premiere an exclusive clip from the film, as well as an outline of the musical group’s key players. Watch the video above, and meet the Silk Road Ensemble below. Bios provided by the Silk Road Ensemble. 

Christina Pato (Spain)

Galician bagpiper, pianist and composer Cristina Pato enjoys an active career devoted to Galician popular and classical music and jazz. The first female gaita player to release a solo album (1999), she has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Arturo O’Farril, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Osvaldo Golijov, World Orchestra and Paquito D’Rivera and performed throughout Europe, USA, India, Africa and China. A pop star in her native Spain, Pato is passionate about education and cultural exchange. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano from Rutgers University, where she studied with a fellowship from Fundacion Barrie de la Maza. She founded and directs Galician Connection, an annual world music forum in Galicia.

Kayhan Kalhor (Iran)

Iran’s Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kamancheh. A native of Tehran, he was a musical prodigy who, while performing, began traveling Iran to explore the music of its many regions. Internationally, he has appeared as soloist with a variety of symphony orchestras and ensembles. Kalhor is co-founder of the renowned ensembles Dastan, Ghazal, Persian & Indian Improvisations and Masters of Persian Music. Kalhor’s compositions are prominent in the Silk Road Ensemble’s repertoire. His recordings have received four Grammy Award nominations.

Wu Man (China)

The world’s premier pipa virtuoso and composer, Wu Man is an ambassador of Chinese music, creating a new role for her lute-like instrument in both traditional and contemporary music. Brought up in the Pudong school of pipa playing, Wu Man became the first person to receive a master’s degree in pipa performance from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She is a frequent collaborator with the Kronos Quartet and has performed solo recitals with major orchestras around the world, regularly premiering new works. Wu Man was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, but the best measure of her achievement is that her instrument, which dates back 2000 years, is no longer an exotic curiosity.

Kinan Azmeh (Syria)

Trained in his native Damascus and a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School and the City University of New York, clarinetist Kinan Azmeh has won international acclaim as a composer, performer, improviser, and recording artist in a wide range of musical genres. His discography includes three albums with his ensemble HEWAR; soundtracks for film and dance; a duo album with pianist Dinuk Wijeratne; and an album with his New York Arabic/Jazz quartet. Azmeh also champions the contemporary music of Syria as artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Music Ensemble.

Yo-Yo Ma (France, USA)

The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Mr. Ma maintains a balance between his engagements as soloist with orchestras worldwide and his recital and chamber music activities. His discography includes over 75 albums, including more than 15 Grammy award winners. In addition to founding and serving as Silkroad artistic director, Mr. Ma is the Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Music Institute. He is a UN Messenger of Peace and a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. His work focuses on the transformative power music can have in individuals’ lives, and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities.

READ MORE: How Filmmaker Morgan Neville Got Buckley vs. Vidal Doc ‘Best of Enemies’ Made

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