In conjunction with the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road, musicians from the Silk Road Ensemble are in residence at the Getty to create pop-up musical performances inspired by the art and replica caves on view.

In this video filmed inside replica Cave 275, bassist Jeffrey Beecher plays a composition by John Anderson, while comparing the modern-day traveler to the ancient pilgrim who experienced the introspective spaces of the Dunhuang cave temples.

More to Explore

Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road exhibition information

Silk Road Ensemble Interprets Dunhuang through Spontaneous Live Music Iris article

Silk Road Ensemble musician and instrument profiles

Art, History, and Conservation of the Cave Temples of Dunhuang video

Virtual Tour of Cave 275, Mogao Grottoes

Transcript

[Music plays: Prelude from Four Short Pieces for Double Bass]

Jeffrey Beecher:  For me, one of the most amazing things in standing inside Replica Cave 275 is to imagine the weary traveler who’s walked hundreds and hundreds of miles coming into this incredibly small but very personal, introspective space.

Besides their physical fatigue, the emotional fatigue, the multiple emotions that they’re probably feeling of reward, of satisfaction—and to imagine that this place provides gives them that real serene opportunity to contemplate those things, as opposed to, say, in the 21st century where we take a long road trip, and we pull off and see fast food, and we have the opportunity to check our smart phones and look at our social media accounts. To have that introspection, I think, is such an incredible thing to think about. To imagine thousands of years ago people doing just that in this setting is something that amazes me so much.

So, for me, as a musician, there’s a piece that I love to play that I think has that introspective nature. It’s a Prelude to Four Short Pieces by a composer named David Anderson.

[Music continues to the end]

[Music plays: Prelude from Four Short Pieces for Double Bass]

Jeffrey Beecher:  For me, one of the most amazing things in standing inside Replica Cave 275 is to imagine the weary traveler who’s walked hundreds and hundreds of miles coming into this incredibly small but ver...

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