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Silkroad Announces Debut Concert Tour of its "American Railroad" Initiative

The American ensemble's multi-city tour will include the premieres of three newly commissioned works


Silkroad has recently announced that the next phase of its "American Railroad" project will include a multi-city United States concert tour.

Founded by cellist and cultural ambassador Yo-Yo Ma in 1998 as a model for cultural collaboration, Silkroad is a global musical ensemble named in honor of the historical Silk Road — an ancient trade route linking the West with the Middle East and Asia.

Conceived by Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, the "American Railroad" project explores the relationship between American railways and African-American, Chinese, Irish, and Indigenous communities.

As part of the project, Silkroad has commissioned a number of new works for the tour — by composers Cécile McLorin SalvantSuzanne Kite, and Silkroad artist Wu Man.

In addition, the tour will feature re-envisioned arrangements by Giddens herself and fellow Silkroad artists Haruka Fujii and Maeve Gilchrist. All of the commissioned works featured on the tour are by female or non-binary composers.

"The 'American Railroad' project has been years in the making, and the program we've created for our first tour is only the beginning," Giddens said. "In it, we shed light on those who have been erased or overlooked throughout American history and merge with it Silkroad's unique ability to amplify voices from a multitude of backgrounds and cultures."

"The result is a tapestry of stories, traditions, and musics that have shaped our multifaceted cultural identity, and that must be heard and recognized," she added. "I hope audiences in the D.C. area and across California will leave these performances with a clearer sense of where we come from, how we got here, what it cost us — and that we collectively reflect on where we're headed."

You can read the full list of tour dates below.


November 5, 2023

Center for the Arts at George Mason University

Fairfax, VA



Educational Activities:

Residency with Rhiannon Giddens and Silkroad artists as part of Mason’s Artist-in-Residence program for the 2023-2024 season (November 6).


November 9, 2023

The Granada Theatre

Presented by UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures

Santa Barbara, CA



Educational Activities:

Residency at UC Santa Barbara with three Silkroad artists guest lecturing on world music and ethnomusicology (November 8).


November 10, 2023

Balboa Theatre

Presented by La Jolla Music Society

San Diego, CA



November 11, 2023

Soka Performing Arts Center

Presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Soka Performing Arts Center

Aliso Viejo, CA



November 12, 2023

The Soraya’s Great Hall

Presented by the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts at CSUN

Northridge, CA



November 15, 2023

Bing Concert Hall

Presented by Stanford Live

Stanford, CA



Educational Activities:

Residency at Stanford University with Silkroad artists (November 14).


November 16, 2023

Mondavi Center, UC Davis

Davis, CA



Educational Activities:

Engagement with students from Fremont School as part of Silkroad Connect (November 16).


November 17, 2023

Zellerbach Hall

Presented by Cal Performances

Berkeley, CA



November 18, 2023

Weill Hall

Presented by Green Music Center

Rohnert Park, CA


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