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6/9/11 - SummerStage: a Stop on the Silk Road

Both the Silk Road Project of the American Museum of Natural History and the City Parks Foundation's SummerStage are Trust-funded projects. Below is aNew York Timeson their convergence.

Trolling Heaven and Earth for Sounds

As cultures blend, as art forms meld with one another and with science and other disciplines, all is convergence, and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma is somehow at the center.

Two years ago, in a program directed by the former dancer Damian Woetzel, Mr. Ma played unaccompanied Bach as children cavorted onstage. A year ago, in another program directed by Mr. Woetzel, Mr. Ma and other members of the Silk Road Ensemble performed, among other things, the “Song to the Moon” from Dvorak’s “Rusalka,” with the rising soprano Emalie Savoy.

All those elements and more came together in the program that opened the Central Park SummerStage season on Tuesday evening — called “Night at the Caravanserai: Tales of Wonder” — but they were put to different uses. In the earlier evenings, presented by the World Science Festival at Alice Tully Hall, the music was something of a sideshow for tributes to scientists: in 2009 Edward O. Wilson, a sociobiologist known for his studies of ant populations (the children ringing the stage as Mr. Ma played were meant to be ants), and in 2010, the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

In this concert, too, with the loose theme of stars and other heavenly bodies, the music was subsidiary, in this case to the goal of raising awareness for Silk Road Connect, a pilot educational program of the Silk Road Project in New York public middle schools, which just completed its second year. The program arranges school visits by musicians and other artists, and provides a curriculum and teacher support, all intended to spur interest in the arts and foster interdisciplinary connections. Read more>>


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