The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma will perform at Wheaton College’s Cole Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, October 15, at 8 p.m.
The concert will be the first performance in this year’s Mary Bloor Loser (pronounced low-zhure) ’42 Music Series, which is entering its 25th year as a Wheaton tradition. At the October 15 concert, the ensemble is scheduled to perform the world premiere of British-American composer David Bruce’s “Cut the Rug,” which the group commissioned.
The Silk Road Ensemble, formed under the artistic direction of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, is a collective of musicians and artists from nearly 20 countries. In sharing traditions from various cultures, the ensemble develops and performs new music and multimedia pieces, exploring and expanding contemporary musical crossroads. The group has performed to critical acclaim throughout Asia, Europe and North America, and has recorded six albums, including “A Playlist Without Borders,” which was just released. Their album “Off the Map” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album in 2011.
The Wheaton performance, which sold out within hours of being announced, is sponsored by the Mary Bloor Loser ’42 Musical Series, a fund that was established in 1987 by her husband, Thomas Loser and her mother, Ann Bloor. At Wheaton, Mary Loser, a member of the Class of 1942, majored in music and minored in art and Italian. She passed away in 1980.
The inaugural Loser concert was given in April of 1988 by the pianist Emanuel Ax. For many years the series has offered members of the Wheaton community an opportunity to hear the work of major musical performers, including the King’s Singers, Bobby McFerrin, and the Boys Choir of Harlem.
Loser artists are selected by a committee that includes the president of the college, the full-time faculty from the Music Department, and other faculty on campus. Artists often teach master classes for music students as part of their visit, and vocalists such as Rockapella and Dawn Upshaw have conducted workshops for vocal students as well as Wheaton’s a cappella groups.
Professor of Music Ann Sears considers the Loser series an essential part of Wheaton’s musical program, saying, “Having a program that brings great artists to campus generates a lot of excitement and interest in music, and it helps build momentum for future Wheaton investments in the arts.”
President Ronald A. Crutcher, who is also an award-winning musician and music scholar, always enjoys the Loser concerts and says that he is particularly excited to have a fellow cellist performing this year.
After the Wheaton performance, the ensemble will travel to New York for a performance on October 16, at Carnegie Hall, in celebration of the Silk Road Project’s 15th anniversary and the release of the Ensemble’s new CD “A Playlist Without Borders” and DVD “The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma: Live from Tanglewood.”
The Wheaton performance has sold out. If any tickets become available the day of the concert, they will be offered when the doors open at 7:30 p.m. Contact Jessica Kuszaj, manager of arts events and publicity, at email@example.com.
—Brian Jencunas ’14