27 Sep 2011
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble Entertain and Inform at Harvard Business School
Yo-Yo Ma

BOSTON—Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, a collection of premier musicians from around the world who play a potpourri of instruments — from the violin and cello to the gaita (Spanish bagpipe) and the sheng (a Chinese reed instrument)—made its way to Harvard Business School's Spangler Center Lounge yesterday to offer a lunchtime concert to a large group of students, faculty, and staff. The Ensemble, part of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange, is spending at week in residency at Harvard University to compose new music and mentor student musicians.

Professor Youngme Moon, senior associate dean and faculty chair of the MBA Program, welcomed the musicians, noting that in a school that fosters entrepreneurship on a grand scale, cultural entrepreneurs can play an important role by combining arts with business and providing support in a long-term way.

Reminding the Harvard MBA students that the HBS definition of entrepreneurship focuses on seizing opportunities beyond currently available resources, Dean Nitin Nohria asked students to consider new models for arts organizations. "We think about standard groups like symphonies," he said, "but social entrepreneurship makes us consider other types of organizations that can be sustained in the future."

The members of the Silk Road Ensemble played several pieces and answered questions from the audience before packing up their instruments in the midst of enthusiastic applause.


Jim Aisner