Famous cellist kicks off year-long event at Chicago Cultural Center
May 2, 2006 (WLS) -- World famous cellist Yo Yo Ma made a quick stop in Chicago Tuesday and it was all about the Silk Road -- that ancient trade route in long-ago China. But this Silk Road isn't a road and it's not about silk. It's all about Chicago and a year-long celebration that starts in June.
Yo Yo Ma began Chicago's promotional event with music from the past. He played an early version of the Cello from Mongolia that just might have been heard along the old Silk Road.
"This is a horse head fiddle. You can see from the horse head, the horse's tail, bow hairs. The same as a cello bow," said Yo-Yo Ma, world renowned cellist.
On Tuesday, there was a preview of what we can expect starting in June at the Chicago Cultural Center. There will be over 250 events of all kinds in a 12-month trip down Silk Road, Chicago.
"It's a year long celebration of cultural diversity and artistic expression and it's really using the Silk Road as a metaphor for an exchange of ideas and culture," said Dorothy Coyle, Dir. Chicago Office of Tourism.
The original Silk Road began over 2,000 years ago. It stretched from eastern Asia all the way to the Mediterranean. Along the route, there was the trading of silk, ceramics, ideas and plenty of music from the world's best musicians. Plus, there was theatre, food, fashion and every form of artistic expression.
Yo-Yo Ma came up with the idea and he is donating a million dollars to help defray costs. He says it's because Chicago is sort of a modern Silk Road.
"Chicago is a world city. The world is contained within Chicago. Chicago has always been interested in the world around it. A city of transportation, trade and culture," said Yo-Yo Ma.
Yo-Yo Ma, the city of Chicago, the Art Institute and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are all in this together to give us a smooth ride down the Silk Road, Chicago.
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