CHICAGO - The notion of cultural purity is a dead end, said famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who was born in Paris to Chinese parents and came to the United States as a child prodigy.
Ma's internationally recruited Silk Road Ensemble involves instruments such as Indian sitars, Islamic ouds, and Chinese erhu, suona and pipa and has filled museums with works from Azerbaijan, Iran, Mongolia and Uzbekistan.
"I have this theory that I share with (Art Institute of Chicago president) Jim Cuno," Ma told The Associated Press. "It's that nothing great was ever produced in isolation."
Ma says his study of history at Harvard led him to realize that Eastern and Western cultures are not self-contained, but have mixed since at least the time of Alexander the Great.