Friday, December 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Yo-Yo Ma, Silk Road Ensemble return to Mondavi

Cellist Mike Block performs with Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble at the Lincoln Center in June 2010. They will perform April 8 at the Mondavi Center. Courtesy photo

By
March 30, 2011 |

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma returns to the Mondavi Center on Friday, April 8, this time traveling with The Silk Road Ensemble. Ma played a leading role in launching the group in 2000, and first brought the Silk Road Ensemble to the Mondavi Center in November 2002, during the center’s inaugural season.

This year’s version of the Silk Road Ensemble features several familiar names, including Wu Man, who plays the Chinese pipa, and appeared at Mondavi with the Kronos Quartet in February 2007, and Cristina Pato, who plays the gaita, a form of bagpipes found in the Spanish region of Galicia.

Other musicians in the group will play the oud, a Middle Eastern relative of the European lute; the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute; and the kamancheh, a small fiddle with a long, conical neck, originally from Iran. There are also percussion instruments from various lands.

The ensemble also includes traditional European instruments like the violin and viola. There are also two cellos — played by Ma, of course, and Mike Block.

You might think that being the “other cellist” in the group — when Ma’s name is on the marquee — might give a young musician the jitters. But the 28-year-old Block — who joined the Silk Road Ensemble in 2005, and graduated from the Juilliard School in 2006 — says it isn’t so.

“I know it should be scary, getting ready back stage and knowing that I’m up next. But Yo-Yo Ma is very supportive,” Block said. “He shares the spotlight with all the members of the group.

“One of cool things about Silk Road is that in some ways, it’s a world music ensemble” — hence those exotic instruments from around the globe.

“But in some ways it’s very much a new music ensemble,” Block continued “We get some of greatest composers from different countries and musical traditions to create new works that combine the instruments and styles in new way.”

While the musicians speak many different languages, “Our rehearsals are typically done in English,” Block said. “Occasionally, we have a member whose English is not strong, but there is always one person in group who can translate into something they understand.

“I remember when I first started playing in the group, there was an Armenian flute type player who didn’t speak any English at all. But we were able to communicate through Russian, which one of other Silk Road members spoke.”

Block added that the group offers new creative opportunities to the well-known Ma, whose popular following is so large that he sells out the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall every time he visits, regardless of what kind of music he’s playing.

“The Silk Road Ensemble brings out a different side of him,” Block said, “something that some of his traditional classical audience may not get to see when he plays the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites, as he did when he was in Davis the last time (May 2009). You see a different side of him with this group.”

Block said next week’s program at Mondavi will include a piece called “Air to Air” by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, whose song cycle “Ayre” was performed at Mondavi by soprano Dawn Upshaw and other artists in 2005, and whose arrangement of “Café Tacuba” for string quartet was performed here last December by the Kronos Quartet.

“Golijov’s ‘Air to Air’ is an incredibly exciting piece that features Cristina Pato on bagpipes,” Block said. “It’s a big rollercoaster of a piece, with some really emotional lows, followed by a climax that originated as a protest song from Eastern Europe. It’s a really beautiful mixture of cultures.”

Also on Friday’s program will be a piece called “Taranta Project” by Giovanni Sollima.

“This piece is for string quartet plus percussion,” Block said. “Sollima is a cellist from Sicily, he draws on a gypsy style. There is half a movement that involves body percussion solo, and one of the other movements includes a cello and percussion duo. The piece has very strong melodies and rhythms. It takes audience on beautiful journey.”

The Silk Road Ensemble concert sold out some months back, but determined souls might be able to pick up one of the turned-back tickets that almost always materialize at the box office on the day of the concert. Tickets are $50-$150 general, $25-$75 for students. For more information, visit http://www.mondaviarts.org or call (530) 754-2787.

Henry Spiller, a UC Davis faculty member specializing in world music, will give a 7 p.m. pre-concert talk in the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, across the street from the Mondavi Center.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    UCD, UC team up to study effects of climate change

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Teens’ goal? Helping other soccer players around the world

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    There’s a plate for you at the Davis Holiday Meal

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police seek suspect in hit-and-run collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Help sought in search for runaway Davis teen

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Feds release ‘framework’ to rate colleges

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Gunfire leads to DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Creative women share food, friendship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Welcome 2015 with Mumbo Gumbo at a gala bash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Willett bench is a labor of love

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

    Author! Author! UCD hosts talks, Q and A on Asia-focused books

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Blue Christmas service planned at Davis churches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Libraries will be closed around the holidays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    See diving ducks at city wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    A home for the holidays?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Nobel Prize winner will discuss research related to autism

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Explorit: Experience nano this spring

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Grandmothers support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

     
    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Forum

    He needs them to pay up

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Kudos to Central Park Gardens donors and volunteers

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

     
    Cheers and Jeers: Have you ever seen the rain?

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Defeating Ebola involves medicine, and prayers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    Cousins is back in lineup but Kings fall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys hold off scrappy Rio Linda

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils rout an undefeated Liberty squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD RB coach Wright heads to Florida; what next?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Aggies nab junior college defensive lineman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Nostra-Dunning makes his college bowl picks

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Tennyson’s first goal is the difference in Sharks win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Trio elected to academy of inventors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Before Midnight’ screening is tonight

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    DMTC plans New Year’s Eve party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    Tom Rigney and Flambeau to play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    DMTC announces auditions for ‘Sweeney Todd’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Business

    After 19 years, Alfa Romeo returns

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A16

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics