When Yo-Yo Ma performs with the Silk Road Ensemble, which has 60 members from 24 countries, audiences can expect everything from centuries-old traditional tunes to compositions that were just completed last week (the group has collectively performed 65 new commissions). Its a huge repertoire in terms of its geographic scope, says ensemble member Nick Cords. We have music from Latin America; we have music from the Mid-dle East, from Iran and Spain. Some of the pieces are very traditional. Ascending Bird is actually a very, very old piece of Persian folk music. Its probably more than 1,000 years old, yet that tune is still being played in Iran today.
The group, making its Houston debut here, takes its name from the Silk Road, the international trade route of legend that ran from Europe through Asia and cultivated the trade of goods and ideas alike. The Silk Road Ensemble performs a program which features a world premiere by Berkeley-born composer Gabriela Lena Frank, whose multi-movement piece ¡Chayraq!: Rough Guide to a Modern Day Tawantinsuyu echoes the music of indigenous Latin American peoples. 8 p.m. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-4772 or visit www.spahouston.org. $35 to $155.
Sat., April 2, 8 p.m., 2011