Since 2000, the Silk Road Ensemble has been redefining music for 21st-century audiences. By drawing on the rich array of traditions that make up our shared cultural heritage, they create a new musical language—a uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects our many-layered contemporary identities. Ascending Bird, an arrangement of a traditional Persian folk melody, tells the story of a bird’s attempt to fly to the sun. The creature fails twice, but on the third attempt loses its physical body in the glow of the sun, creating a metaphor for spiritual transcendence. Enjoy the performance.