East and West of Dunhuang: Music Carried on the Wind

May 20, 2016

From the late fourth through the fourteenth centuries, the central Asian trade routes, later collectively known as the Silk Road, were China's main link with its western neighbors. On the northwestern limit of the empire, Dunhuang was an important oasis and military outpost on the Silk Road. Near Dunhuang, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, hundreds of cave temples were carved into a cliff face and decorated with Buddhist wall paintings and sculptures that today bear witness to the intense religious, commercial, artistic, and cultural exchange along these trade routes.

Master musicians and scholar-performers from the University of California, presented an aural journey through the cultures that came together to shape the Dunhuang caves and which are illustrated in the caves' wall paintings. Musical traditions from China, India, the Middle East, and Central Asia brought the Silk Road vibrantly to life.


Farzad Amoozegar-Fassie: setar (Persian plucked lute)
Münir Beken: Turkish 'ud (plucked lute)
Cassie Chen: pipa (Chinese 4-string plucked lute)
Di Chen: yangquin (Chinese hammered dulcimer)
Li Chi: erhu and guquin (Chinese two-string fiddle and seven-string zither)
Souhail Kaspar: tar (Arab frame drum)
Abhiman Kaushal: tabla (drums)
Tanya Merchant: doyra, dutar, and voice (Uzbek frame drum and 2-string plucked lute)
Rahul Neuman: sitar (plucked lute)
Michael Perricone: Tibetan singing bowls
A. J. Racy: nay and buzuq (Middle Eastern reed flute and plucked lute)
Helen Rees: xiao (Chinese end-blown flute) and tenor recorder

Presented in collaboration with the World Music Center at UCLA and the UCLA Confucius Institute.

This concert complements the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road.