The Silk Road Project

Monday, November 26 – 2-3 pm
The Revival and Reinvention of Azerbaijani Mugham

Dr. Aida Huseynova, ethnomusicologist, teacher and Fulbright scholar, will present an overview of the cultural significance of mugham in Azerbaijan, with live musical examples by the Silk Road Ensemble.

This talk will focus on mugham, a form of storytelling through poetry and song, as an improvisational genre of the traditional music of Azerbaijan and a major stylistic source of art music and jazz in that country. Azerbaijani mugham, recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity continues to exist in its original form, even as it becomes incorporated with Western art music. Dr. Huseynova will explain how hybrid genres, such as mugham opera, symphonic mugham and jazz mugham, emerged in Azerbaijani music during last hundred years, and how discrimination against mugham during the Soviet era and its revival today have impacted its development in the 20th and early 21st century. The rediscovery of mugham is a major trend in the contemporary music of Azerbaijan, and it is now re-interpreted in the repertoire of the Silk Road Ensemble.

Wednesday, November 28, 2-4 pm
Layla and Majnun: A Classic Arabian “Romeo and Juliet”

Ali S. Asani, Professor of the Practice of Indo-Muslim Languages and Culture, will lead a presentation exploring the cultural and literary significance of the classic Arabian love story, "Layla and Majnun," and connecting it to music developed by The Silk Road Ensemble. The workshop will include musical examples of the chamber arrangement, performed by the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, artistic director.

Thursday, November 29 – 7:30 pm
“Layla and Majnun”
Work-in-Progress Performance

The Silk Road Ensemble presents a work-in-progress performance of its new chamber arrangement of the classic Azerbaijani "Layla and Majnun" opera, featuring mugham performer and Azerbaijani Living National Treasure Alim Qasimov.

Learn more about the story and performance of “Layla and Majnun.”

Friday, November 30 – 2-3:30 pm
Indigo: The Story of a Silk Road Dye
Presentation and Discussion

Indigo traveled from India through much of Asia and Africa before it became ubiquitous as the color of today’s blue jeans. Music Department Chair Ingrid Monson, whose recent travels include a visit to locations in Mali where indigo cloth is made, will present an overview of the traditional music of that area. The Silk Road Ensemble will perform an arrangement of a traditional melody from Mali, inspired by the story of indigo.

Friday, November 30 – 7:30 pm
“Layla and Majnun”
Work-in-Progress Performance

The Silk Road Ensemble presents a work-in-progress performance of its new chamber arrangement of the classic Azerbaijani "Layla and Majnun" opera, featuring mugham performer and Azerbaijani Living National Treasure Alim Qasimov.

Read the press release.

Admission is free to all events, which take place at New College Theatre, 10-12 Holyoke Street, Cambridge. Tickets to the Thursday and Friday evening performances will be available in advance through the Harvard Box Office, 1350 Mass. Ave in Holyoke Center, starting on November 13. For the afternoon presentations, tickets are available at the door on a first-come first-served basis. For further information, visit www.boxoffice.harvard.edu or call 617-496-2222.