Past Event29 Jul - 30 Jul 2016

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

No longer available

The Civic


On a quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s ‘universal language of music’, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma travels the old ‘Silk Road’ with virtuoso musicians from diverse instrumental traditions to collaborate on rousing new musical explorations.

“An infectious street concert opens this buoyant musical journey, the story of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble, a collective of the world’s greatest musicians. Initially drawn from the Central Asian ‘Silk Road’ countries and regions of China, India, Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, the composition of the group eventually broadened to include talents from all over the globe. 

As Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom, NZIFF13; Best of Enemies, NZIFF15) frames it, the Silk Road Ensemble arose out of Yo-Yo Ma’s quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s theoretical ‘universal language of music’, and to identify and cultivate the intersections between cultures where harmony connects disparity… 

This discerning and joyous documentary includes many of the backstories of the fascinating ensemble members; Damascus-born clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Iranian exile and acclaimed kamancheh player, Kayhan Kalhor, Wu Man, master of the Chinese stringed instrument, the pipa, and the exuberant Spanish bagpiper Cristina Pato, known as ‘the Jimi Hendrix of Galicia’.” - Leah LoSchiavo, San Francisco International Film Festival

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

USA 2015
96 mins

Director: Morgan Neville

Producers: Morgan Neville, Caitrin Rogers

Photography: Graham Willoughby

Editors: Jason Zeldes, Helen Kearns

Music: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

With: Yo-Yo Ma, Wu Man, Kinan Azmeh, Kayhan Kalhor, Cristina Pato

Festivals: Toronto 2015; Berlin, San Francisco 2016

For tickets and details about films at other venues, please visit the New Zealand International Film Festival website.

Watch the trailer

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