Mark Morris Dance Group & Silk Road Ensemble

Founded in New York in 1980, the internationally-renowned Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) has received “highest praise for their technical aplomb, their musicality, and their sheer human authenticity.” (Bloomberg News). MMDG spent three years in residence at Brussels’ Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie as Belgium’s national dance company, returning to the United States in 1991.

The Dance Group is distinguished as the only modern dance company with a commitment to live music at every performance, founding the MMDG Music Ensemble in 1996. MMDG also regularly collaborates with eminent musicians across genres, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, jazz trio The Bad Plus, the London Symphony Orchestra, baroque orchestras Tafelmusik and Philharmonia Baroque, as well as opera companies such as The Metropolitan Opera and the English National Opera. 

Community engagement is a vital component of the Dance Group. Through the organization’s Access/MMDG programming, it integrates opportunities for dance, music, talks, and education at its Brooklyn home, the Mark Morris Dance Center, as well as on tour around the world.

Inspired by the exchange of ideas and traditions along the historical Silk Road, cellist Yo-Yo Ma established Silkroad in 1998 to explore how the arts can advance global understanding. Since 2000, the musicians of the Silk Road Ensemble have led Silkroad’s work to connect the world through the arts, focusing in three areas: musical performances, learning programs, and cultural entrepreneurship. Representing dozens of nationalities and musical traditions, the musicians of the Ensemble model new forms of cultural exchange through performances, workshops, and residencies. The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, a documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom), premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2015 and was released in theatres June 2016.