Silkroad Silkroad


The Massachusetts-based nonprofit arts organization brings together musicians from the historic network of trade routes to create a new kind of cultural collaboration.

Bridging Cultures Through Music


Celebrated cellist and humanitarian Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad in 1998 as a nexus for cultural collaboration in an age of globalization — and to answer an age-old question: "What happens when strangers meet?" He recruited gifted musicians from various countries on the famous East-West trade routes known as the Silk Road to form a touring ensemble as well as a social impact organization that seeks to connect and better the planet through the arts.

Several decades later, the Silkroad Ensemble is creating compelling new music that blends musical traditions from dozens of nations and performing for audiences across the globe. Guided by Grammy Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning singer-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, who became the organization's artistic director in 2020, Silkroad is boldly experimenting with creation and collaboration to showcase the transformative power of music, and, as Silkroad declares, "how great beauty can emerge from great difference." Serving as a musical idea incubator, the organization also operates training workshops, internships, fellowships, and residency programs while working with public schools, universities, prisons, and indigenous and refugee communities. Through all of its initiatives and programming, Silkroad seeks to foster a spirit of learning and an appreciation for music's ability to transcend borders.

GRoW Support


General Operating Support