Episodes of "My Music with Rhiannon Giddens," Filmed at the Center for the Arts, Air on PBS


My Music with Rhiannon Giddens returns to PBS this May with six new episodes, two of which were filmed at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University in November 2023, in conjunction with Silkroad's American Railroad performance. The world premiere of this program was presented at Mason as part of the Silkroad Ensemble’s three-year residency with us.

This second season of the show focuses on the MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY Award winner Rhiannon Giddens’s work with the groundbreaking, GRAMMY Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble on American Railroad, her flagship program as Silkroad’s artistic director, which had its world premiere at the Center for the Arts on November 5, 2023. One of the most important technological and economic achievements of the 19th century, the transcontinental railroad helped shape our cultural identity. However, the diverse immigrant groups and formerly enslaved people whose labor built the railroad have not been duly recognized. The American Railroad project, and therefore this season of My Music with Rhiannon Giddens, aim to highlight those communities.

In each episode of Season 2, Giddens hosts a half-hour performance and conversation with an accomplished musician representing one of the cultures integral to the creation of the transcontinental railroad. Featured artists with episodes filmed at the Center for the Arts include renowned pipa musician Wu Man, whose episode aired May 2 and is currently available for viewing and Japanese percussionist Haruka Fujii, whose episode will be available for streaming starting May 29. Fujii is also a featured artist in the world premiere of Percussion All-Stars, which the Silkroad Ensemble will perform at the Center for the Arts on January 25 as part of the 2024–25 season.

Watch Season 2, Episode 1 of PBS's My Music with Rhiannon Giddens, filmed at George Mason's Center for the Arts in November 2023, featuring pipa player Wu Man.
Title shot from PBS episode of "My Music with Rhiannon Giddens," showing Silkroad Ensemble pipa player Wu Man walking on the sidewalk towards the Center for the Arts at George Mason University.

Additional episodes feature other Silkroad musicians who have been involved with the residency, including Celtic harpist Maeve Gilchrist (streaming from May 8), violinist and improvisational conductor Mazz Swift (streaming from May 15), tabla virtuoso Sandeep Das (streaming from May 22), and Tuscarora/Taino vocalist and lap steel slide guitar player Pura Fé (streaming from June 5). They play solo pieces as well as duets with Giddens, talk about their personal backgrounds and artistic journeys, and reveal the common ground of music’s global roots. All episodes will be available for free on PBS.org for four weeks following their streaming date, before moving to PBS Passport.

Learn more about the Silkroad Ensemble's activities as Mason Artist-in-Residence for American Railroad during the 2023–24 season.