Yo-Yo Ma Sparks East-West Musical Innovation Fusion


“Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project ensemble is simply amazing! We couldn’t get out of our seats at the symphony center recently after the performance of “East Meets West.” It was just too good. The Silk Road Ensemble has created incredibly fresh music, and it’s full of innovation inspiration for all of us.”

- Mike Kassab



“We all feel we’re better musicians as a result of the Silk Road Project. We were taken to musical areas we didn’t know well, and have widened our own musical worlds. We have more tools with which to express ourselves. Most importantly, I feel more human, more connected to others.”

- Yo-Yo Ma

We’ll be highlighting dozens of Hot Matter-driven innovations on this blog, drawing ideas from the worlds of science, technology, entertainment, sports, art, religion – the whole scope of the human adventure.

Each of the featured innovations is made possible by one or more strands of the DNA of Innovation: People, Information, Digits, Aesthetics, Architecture, Technique, and Ingredients. There’s more about the strands here.

Yo-Yo Ma Driving DNA Strands: People, Technique, Architecture
Today, we want to kick off this series with a look at the kind of synthesis that Hot Matter makes possible: Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, a catalyst promoting innovation and knowledge sharing through the arts to create an entirely new genre of music. The Project’s mission is “to connect the world’s neighborhoods by bringing together artists and audiences around the globe.”

The Silk Road Ensemble is a collective of internationally renowned performers and composers from more than 20 countries. It’s East meets West in an innovative fusion of musical instruments, musicians, and new-to-world compositions!

The original Silk Road, of course, was a network of trade routes connecting Asia with the the Mediterranean countries, Africa, and Europe. As such the Silk Road made it possible to link cultures and cross-pollinate them.

That idea of cross-pollination (ideas from one category inspiring innovation in another) is a key Hot Matter concept; we argue that cross-pollination from one business, product category, or even individual to another happens more easily and intelligently today than ever before.

Where could cross-pollination lead us from the Silk Road Project? Consider these possibilities:

frito lay
#1 Frito Lay
East meets West snacks
I’m thinking of R&D creating new tasty combinations of East/West spices and/or vegetable ingredients. Serving them individually as complementary treats may be better than blending them as entirely new flavors.

true religion
#2 True Religion
East meets West fashion
Blue jeans are of course just one potential fashion application for East meets West. There are many other possibilities for accessories and other clothing items. On blue jeans the cross-pollinization could range from subtle touches such as interwoven east/west pant leg threading to bolder ideas, like garments split half and half with alluring designs and fabrics. Perhaps marketing presents it as a “global citizen” cause, as the basis for establishing brand culture.

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