The concerts were accompanied by master classes - attended by local musicians and students - at which there was a chance to share musical traditions and explore new avenues of artistic expression.
The concerts and master classes are part of efforts by the Aga Khan Music Initiative and the Silk Road Project, Inc to promote and preserve the music of the region. In Central Asia, music of great antiquity is still passed - by oral transmission - from a handful of masters to small groups of students.
"For many years, I have felt that traditional music played such a critical role in the cultures of Central Asia that it deserved attention and assistance," Prince Karim Aga Khan remarked. "The need became all the more apparent after the countries of the region achieved independence and began the process of redefining themselves. For the new countries of Central Asia, the inherent pluralism of their societies can be an asset rather than a liability."
"We live in a world of increasing awareness and interdependence, and I believe that music can act as a magnet to draw people together," said Yo-Yo Ma. "Music is an expressive art that can reach to the very core of one's identity. By listening to and learning from the voices of an authentic musical tradition, we become increasingly able to advocate for the worlds they represent. Further, as we interact with unfamiliar musical traditions we encounter voices that are not exclusive to one community. We discover trans-national voices that belong to one world."