A Sad Morning

This morning is a sad morning, as I wake up to the news that Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, one of the members of the famous Silkroad ensemble, who has lived in the United States for the last 16 years, is facing uncertainty about whether he can return home. Currently on tour in Beirut, he is one of thousands waiting to find out if he will be allowed to back in the US after President Trump’s order banning Syrians from entering the country.

Only three years ago, Kinan Azmeh performed A Sad Morning, Every Morning at New York’s Carnegie Hall, dedicated to the children of his homeland who are caught up in the brutality of the rebellion that has become a civil war. At the time, BBC news reported that Kinan Azmeh made New York his home, unsure when he will be able to go back to Damascus where he grew up and first learned to play. He is now faced by the same dilemma and unsure whether he can come back to New York, the place he called home for over a decade.

When Yo-Yo Ma created the Silk Road Project in 2000, it was with an eye toward relieving some of the frustration he felt opening the newspaper every morning. Inspired by the exchange of ideas and traditions along the historical Silk Road, he established SILKROAD to explore how the arts can advance global understanding.The Silk Road Ensemble is made up of performers and composers from more than twenty countries. Since then, audiences and critics in over 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America have embraced these artists that are passionate about cross-cultural understanding and innovation.

Part of being a musician is to address those intractable issues that politics can’t actually solve

– Yo-Yo Ma