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Soraya Stories

Director Selects: Silkroad Ensemble

By Thor Steingraber

When Silkroad Ensemble last performed at The Soraya in 2019, there were occasional gasps during the performance, and many left speechless. One woman in the lobby afterward said to me, “It may be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” The musical ensemble, formed originally by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, is known for combining musicians and artists who would otherwise not share a stage. They create intersections between cultures and ideas, and the result is breathtaking beauty.

They will bring their hallmark inventiveness back to The Soraya on April 2 with Home Within, a piece conceived by Kinan Azmeh and Kevork Mourad in response to the violence in their homeland, Syria. Altogether, the ensemble includes six musicians, including Azmeh playing clarinet, performing with and often improvising with Mourad, as his real-time drawings are projected onto the stage.

Syria has been under siege for eleven years, and now, as war rages in Ukraine, Home Within is a reminder not to lose sight of global atrocities everywhere. Mourad and Azmeh uplift the most essential aspects of our humanity—the shared sense of home, even when it is faraway or even lost altogether.


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