A Conversation with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Yo-Yo Ma (photo by Todd Rosenberg)
Yo-Yo Ma (photo by Todd Rosenberg)


Yo-Yo Ma, one of the world’s most celebrated musicians, and members of the Silk Road Ensemble will discuss the intersection of arts and public life Feb. 26 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The talk, at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall, will be moderated by Emil Kang, Carolina Performing Arts’ executive and artistic director, following opening remarks by Karen M. Gil, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the event is free, but tickets are required. They can be reserved at cpatix.org. (Please note that Yo-Yo Ma and the other artists are not scheduled to perform at the Feb. 26 lecture. They will perform in a sold-out concert Feb. 27 as part of Carolina Performing Arts’ season.)

Ma’s multifaceted career is a testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences. As an appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace, Ma has organized teaching and mentoring programs, inspiring students across the world to love and honor music. His collaborations go well beyond the traditional boundaries of classical music; most notably with his Silk Road Project, which celebrates the universality of music itself.

The Silk Road Ensemble (photo by Jennifer Taylor)
The Silk Road Ensemble (photo by Jennifer Taylor)

Made up of performers and composers from more than 20 countries, the Silk Road Ensemble was formed under the artistic direction of Ma in 2000. Since then, audiences and critics in over 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe and North America have embraced these artists who are passionate about cross-cultural understanding and innovation. The Silk Road Ensemble has been called “vibrant and virtuosic” by The Wall Street Journal, “one of the 21st century’s great ensembles” by The Vancouver Sun and a “roving musical laboratory without walls” by The Boston Globe.

Ma comes to campus as the 2015 Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor.

The Frey Foundation Professorship was established in 1989 in the College to bring distinguished leaders from government, public policy, international affairs and the arts to campus. UNC alumnus David Gardner Frey (AB ’64, JD ’67) chairs the foundation.

For more information, visit college.unc.edu/frey.