Musical Globe

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Morgan Neville
Screening time  
25.02. / Thursday, 18:00 - 20:00 Theatre 4  
What is the role of music?

That question is at the heart of the Silk Road Ensemble, a group of master musicians from around the world brought together by acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma to perform, teach, and brainstorm. “I never committed to being a musician,” says Ma, “I just fell into it.” Steered by his parents into playing the cello, Ma was hailed as a child prodigy. By the time he reached middle age, he had travelled the world and achieved a level of popularity rare for a classical musician, but he still didn't know what he wanted to do. In 2000, he began channelling his restless energy into the Silk Road Ensemble, and the project took on greater meaning after September 11, 2001 as a way to foster dialogue across cultures. Among the musicians we meet are Iran's Kayhan Kalhor, a master of the kamancheh fiddle; China's Wu Man, a virtuoso on the lute-like pipa; and Galicia's Cristina Pato, known as the Jimi Hendrix of gaita bagpipes. Despite their divergent backgrounds, they share with Ma a passion for passing traditions to new generations.


Morgan Neville

Morgan Neville was born in Los Angeles. His documentary features include Brian Wilson: A Beach Boy's Tale (1999), The Cool School (2008), Troubadours (2011), Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013), which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and Best of Enemies (2015), co-directed with Robert Gordon. The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (2015) and Keith Richards: Under the Influence (2015) are his latest features.

General sponsor

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

2015, 96'

Directed by:
Morgan Neville

Graham Willoughby

Edited by:
Jason Zeldes, Helen Kearns

Caitrin Rogers

Produced by:
Participant Media

Festivals & Awards:

Toronto International Film Festival 2015; 
Berlin International Film Festival 2016; 
SphinxCon Detroit 2016