Strings Sessions Presents: Silk Road Ensemble

Strings stopped by UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Playhouse on the evening that the Silk Road Ensemble was set to lend its eclectic sound to the Mark Morris Dance Group’s newest evening-length piece Layla and Majnun. The group took time before rehearsal to perform an excerpt from the timeless operatic work and “Little Birdie,” a song from the ensemble’s latest album Sing Me Home.

The first piece, originally written by Uzeyir Hajibeyli, was arranged for Silk Road by vocalist Alim Qasimov, who  plays Majnun, and violinists Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen. For our exclusive Strings performance, Silk Road members Johnny Gandelsman (violin), Colin Jacobsen (violin), Nick Cords (viola), Shawn Conley (bass), Karen Ouzounian (cello), Wu Man (pipa), Shane Shanahan (percussion), Kojiro Umezaki (shakuhachi), Rauf Islamov (kamancheh), Zaki Valiyev (tar), and world-renowned father-daughter duo, vocalists Alim Qasimov and Fargana Qasimova lend their diverse musical talents to the work.


“Little Birdie,” an American traditional tune, was arranged by Jacobsen. Watch Gandelsman, Jacobsen, Nick Cords, Karen Ouzounian, and Shawn Conley perform the classic.