Music has the power to pass through seemingly impenetrable walls. It can bring people together across physical, social, economic, cultural, and religious barriers. In this spirit, Sergio Assad composed The Walls, as a lament for the human divisions that inspired their creation, and as an aspiration to a future without walls. Originally written for solo guitar with guitar orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma asked his friend Sergio to adapt it for solo cello. In this recording, Yo-Yo Ma is accompanied by leading guitarists from across the globe, representing the diverse geographical and cultural areas portrayed in this evocative piece.
Cast in five movements (“Great Wall of China”; “Hadrian’s Wall”; “Berlin Wall”; “Middle Eastern Walls”; and an epilogue, “No More Walls”), the piece draws our attention to these man-made barriers, ancient and contemporary. They stand as testaments to humanity’s inability to bridge cultural divides. And the ruins of the Chinese and Roman walls, in all their grandeur, show how all walls might someday become obsolete.
Today, more separation walls exist around the world than when the Berlin Wall fell. In the near future, economic disparities and climate change will likely cause large human migrations across the planet, causing the pace of their construction to accelerate. It is our hope that people will learn to seek alternative solutions to our challenges, inspired by music’s ability to inspire communication and connection.
Music by Sergio Assad
Produced by Uros Baric
Cello Solo: Yo-Yo Ma
Guitar: Bokyung Byun, Shanshan Chen, Shin-Ichi Fukuda, Ekachai Jearakul, Li Jie, Thu Le, Yenne Lee, Xianji Liu, Takuya Okamoto, Meng Su, Tengyue Zhang, Wang Yameng, Giampaolo Bandini, Carlotta Dalia, Aniello Desiderio, Mark Eden, Stephanie Jones, Lucio Matarazzo, Matteo Mela, Lorenzo Micheli, David Russell, Richard Savino, Laura Snowden, Chris Stell, Uros Baric, Artyom Dervoed, Zoran Dukić, Antigoni Goni, Paola Hermosín, Tilman Hoppstock, Jérémy Jouve, Mateusz Kowalski, Judicaël Perroy, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, Pavel Steidl, Ana Vidović, Thomas Viloteau, Badi Assad, Odair Assad, Sergio Assad, Daniel Bolshoy, Tariq Harb, Alexandra Iranfar, William Kanengiser, Kamal Abdul-Malak, Adam Del Monte, David Tanenbaum, Marc Teicholz, Elodie Bouny, Yamandu Costa, Eliot Fisk, Pablo Garibay, Dale Kavanagh, Fernando de Lima, Douglas Lora, Martha Masters, João Luiz Rezende, Berta Rojas, Cecilia Siqueira, Scott Tennant, Ben Verdery
Bass: Clarice Assad
Yo-Yo Ma recording by Jody Elff
Video supported by Knobloch Strings, Guitar By Masters, Doberman-Yppan
Composition co-commission: The Augustine Foundation, Bonner Meisterkonzerte Klassische Gitarre
Thank you: William Kanengiser, Thomas Offermann, Aniello Desiderio
More about the release:
Paola Hermosín publishes a great commentary video followed by Berlin Wall movement: