Silkroad's Global Musician Workshop returns to DePauw

Sunday, June 19, 2016
The five free events offered this week at the DePauw University Green Center, during Silkroad's Second Annual Global Musician Workshop, include a conversation with Grammy-winning musician Béla Fleck on Wednesday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium. (Courtesy photo)

For the second consecutive year, the DePauw University School of Music will host Silkroad's Global Musician Workshop for its seven-day stay through Saturday, June 25 at the Green Center for the Performing Arts.

The workshop got under way Sunday following the arrival in Greencastle of more than 100 musicians from literally all over the globe.

Conceived by internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, honorary chairman of the school's 21st-Century Musician Initiative, as a musical "laboratory where tradition meets innovation," the inaugural workshop was launched on the DePauw campus in 2015 with a mission to foster globally minded musicians engaged in learning from each other's traditions and incorporating them into their own artistic voices.

Although the opportunity to participate in this year's workshop as a musician has closed several not-to-be-missed events and concerts will be open to the Greencastle community to attend free of charge.

The first of these performances will be the 7:30 p.m. Faculty-Artist Concert on Tuesday, June 21 in Kresge Auditorium by members of the famed Silk Road Ensemble and Global Musician Workshop (GMW) guest faculty-artists.

Audience members will well remember several of the musicians returning from last summer -- all chosen by Ma and considered the best in the world on their particular instruments: Sandeep Das (Indian tabla), Hadi Eldebek (Arabic oud), Balla Kouyate (Malian balafon), Edward Perez (Afro-Latin bass), and GMW director Mike Block (multi-style strings).

Joining this year's all-star faculty will be Seamus Blake (jazz saxophone), Gamin (Korean wind instruments), Maeve Gilchrist (Celtic harp/vocals), Bruce Molsky (old-time Appalachian fiddle), James Shipp (world percussion), Abigail Washburn (banjo/vocals mixing American/Chinese styles) and guest artist Béla Fleck (banjo).

On Wednesday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m., Block will moderate "A Conversation with Béla Fleck," also open to the public. Recognized as one of the greatest banjo players in the world having virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the instrument through his collaborations with artists across a range of genres, Fleck has won 16 Grammy Awards and been nominated more than 30 times -- in more musical categories than anyone in Grammy history.

The conversation and Q&A with Fleck will cover topics such as: What does it mean to be a global musician in the 21st century; what do you look for in a collaborator; what do you struggle with artistically; and what do you see as the greatest strengths and/or weaknesses of the younger generation of musicians.

The event is free and open to the public.

DePauw faculty cellist Eric Edberg, founder of the Greencastle Summer Music Festival, will even take a time-out from GSMF to participate as a student of world music this week. Catch him and the host of other outstanding musicians from around the world on any three of the Global Musician Workshop's faculty-led Participant Concerts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 23--25.

The five evening events that are free and open to the public will all take place at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium, located within the Green Center for the Performing Arts at 605 S. College Ave. on the DePauw University campus. No tickets are needed.

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