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Soraya Stories

Director Selects: The stories behind the history of the American Transcontinental Railroad as musically told by Rhiannon Giddens and Silkroad Ensemble

By Thor Steingraber

“It was in the spirit of crisscrossing connectivity that Giddens found the inspiration for American Railroad … Giddens is also hoping to reveal why American music sounds the way it does, and give credit where credit’s due.” – The Washington Post

One of the most influential and prolific musicians in the world, Rhiannon Giddens is joined by the multi-cultural Silkroad, the ensemble she has helmed since 2020, filling the shoes of Yo-Yo Ma. Prior to her Soraya debut, Southern California has welcomed her both as an opera composer (LA Opera’s Omar) and in the prestigious post of Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival. First an exceptional singer and purveyor of Americana, she is now equally at home with a banjo as she is with a full orchestra or musical instruments from all corners of the globe.

In their new, multi-year project, Giddens and Silkroad illuminate the creation of the transcontinental railroad, one of the greatest feats of technology in the 19th century, and equally a complicated chapter in American history for those who labored to build it, including the Chinese and Irish immigrants, as well as the African American and Indigenous people.



Randy Newman’s
FAUST: The Concert
Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman

Randy Newman’s
FAUST: The Concert
Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman

Sat Sep 28 | 8 PM
Sun Sep 29 | 3PM

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