Mike Block

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Mike Block
Mike Block
Born (1982-05-25) May 25, 1982 (age 35)
Origin Boston, MA, USA
Genres Classical, folk, jazz, fiddling, bluegrass, oldtime, rock, pop, blues, Scottish, Appalachian, Asian, Arabic
Occupation(s) Cellist, Singer, Arranger, Composer, Record Producer,
Instruments Cello, Voice,
Years active fl. ca. 2006–present
Associated acts Yo-Yo Ma, Silk Road Ensemble, Mark O'Connor, Darol Anger
Website http://www.MikeBlockMusic.com

Michael Glen Block (born May 25, 1982) is an American cellist, singer, composer, arranger, and solo artist hailed as "the ideal musician of the twenty-first century" by cultural icon Yo-Yo Ma.[1][2] Mike Block has worked with Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Lenny Kravitz, Shakira, The National, Joe Zawinul, Alison Krauss, Rachel Barton Pine, Mark O'Connor, and other notable musicians.[3] Block currently plays with the Silk Road Ensemble.[4] In January, 2014, Block married fiddler and composer Hanneke Cassel.[5]


In addition to his solo performances and multiple duo collaborations, Block is most famous for playing second cello alongside Yo-Yo Ma.[6] He also performed in Mark O'Connor's Appalachia Waltz trio for three years.[7] His performances have been described as "vital, rich-hued solo playing" by the New York Times,[8] and "a true artist ... a sight to behold" by the Salt Lake City Deseret News.[9]

Summer Camps[edit]

In 2009 Block founded The Mike Block String Camp, which takes place in Vero Beach, Florida. Teachers provide instruction in multiple traditions, develop improvisational skills, and coach student bands in preparation for public performances.[10]

In 2012 Block started the Brooklyn Pop String Camp in NYC, which aims to nurture young children's passion for playing music they like to listen to.[11]


In 2012, Block was appointed Associate Professor of Music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA.[12]

A frequent guest lecturer, Mr. Block has also presented at Stanford University, Princeton University, Harvard University, New York University, Berklee College of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, Belmont University, Southern Methodist University, Sam Houston State University, Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, and University of Arkansas. In 2006, he received Suzuki method certification in music education from the New York City-based School for Strings, under Pamela Devenport.[13]

From 2009 -2012, Mike was the Lead Teaching Artist for Silk Road Connect, a partnership between the Silk Road Project and schools in New York City and Boston areas.[14]


  • Brick by Brick, 2012. A mostly solo project, featuring songs for cello and voice that were all written and recorded while missing 9 teeth, as the result of a traffic accident.
  • Naïve Melody, 2011. Triborough Trio. Instrumental album featuring traditional and contemporary music from around the world.
  • After the Factory Closes, 2010. Mike Block Band. Instrumental album featuring original music influenced by many styles.
  • Words R Words, 2009. Mike Block Band. Album featuring all original songs.

Director of Music Festivals[edit]

Mike created the Vero Beach International Music Festival in 2014, which features performances by students and faculty of the Mike Block String Camp.[15]

From 2011–2012, Mike was the Artistic Director and host of GALA Brooklyn: "Global Art - Local Art:", a Music Festival in Brooklyn featuring a diverse array of musicians and artists in unique collaborations. Notable guests include Anthony Mcgill (Metropolitan Opera), Aoife O’Donovan (singer for Crooked Still), Aaron Dugan (guitarist for Matisyahu), Multi-genre violinist/composer Todd Reynolds, Grammy-Nominated classical artists Anastasia Khitruk (violin), and the Enso Quartet, Marcus Printup from Jazz at Lincoln Center, and jazz saxophonist Seamus Blake, and singer-songwriter Amy Correia.[16]

Mike Block has also served as musical director to cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer Bobby McFerrin, ballet star Damien Woetzel, jookin dancer Lil’ Buck, actor/comedian Bill Irwin, jazz trumpeter Marcus Printup, world-music group The Silk Road Ensemble, and classical orchestra The Knights.

Collaborative projects[edit]

Duo with Rachel Barton Pine, Classical Violinist [17]

Duo with Sandeep Das, Indian Tabla Player [18]

Duo with Balla Kouyate, Balafon player from Mali [19]

Duo with Clay Ross, guitarist and singer [20]

Duo with Hanneke Cassel, Celtic fiddler [21]

Duo with Yang Wei, Chinese Pipa player [22]

Duo with Darol Anger, Mult-genre fiddler [23]

Mike Block has also performed with notable musicians such as Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall, Zakir Hussain, My Brightest Diamond, St. Vincent, Bon Iver, Tim O’Brien, Marcel Khaliffe, Goran Bregovic, Kayhan Kalhor and Bruce Molsky.

Past Projects:

Mike Block Band: Featuring Mike Block (cello), Kyle Sanna (guitar), Mat Fieldes (bass), and Damien Bassman (drums) .[24]

Triborough Trio: Featuring Mike Block (cello), Hans Holzen (guitar), and Kyle Kegerreis (bass) [25]

Current ensemble member[edit]

Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble [26]

Former ensemble member of the following groups[edit]

Television/movie credits[edit]

He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, National Public Radio's St. Paul Sunday, Regis and Kelly, VH1, the Disney Channel, WNBC-TV with Chuck Scarborough, and the CBS Early Show.[27]

Mike has also worked with director Yaron Zilberman as a Music Consultant for "A Late Quartet", a 2011 movie starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken.[28]


Bachelor of Music: 2004. Cleveland Institute of Music Primary Teacher: Richard Aaron [29] Received 2004 Jim Hall Prize for Undergraduate Achievement

Master of Music: 2006. The Juilliard School Primary Teachers: Joel Krosnick, Darrett Adkins [30]

Suzuki Pedagogy: 2006. School For Strings, NYC Primary Teacher: Pamela Devenport

Appointed Associate Professor by The Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, in Fall 2012.

Automobile accident[edit]

On April 4, 2009, Mike Block was struck by a NYC taxi while walking at the corner of W85th St. and West End Ave, in Manhattan. Injuries included broken rib, jaw, cheek, nose, and he lost nine teeth. His reconstruction required multiple surgeries; his missing teeth were restored on February 15, 2012.


  1. ^ "Cellist & Composer Mike Block Reinvents Concert Series at Brooklyn Lyceum". Broadway World. 
  2. ^ "Mike Block String Camp opens a world of music to students". VeroNews, Vero Beach, Florida. 
  3. ^ Battaglia, Andy (May 6, 2011). "A Brooklyn Buffet: Local Cellist Launches New Music Fest". Wall St Journal. 
  4. ^ "The Silk Road Project: Mike Block". Silk Road Project. 
  5. ^ "Marriage". 
  6. ^ "Yo-Yo Ma, Silk Road Ensemble return to Mondavi". The Davis Enterprise. 
  7. ^ "Appalachia Waltz Trio to Perform Friday, Jan. 18". Phillips Academy Andover. 
  8. ^ Kozinn, Allan (December 14, 2007). "Leaping Borders, Stylistic and Global". New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Mike Block: Quotes". Mike Block. 
  10. ^ "Mike Block String camp". Mike Block. 
  11. ^ "BPSC". Mike Block. 
  12. ^ "Berklee - Mike Block". Berklee. 
  13. ^ "The Knights: Mike Block". The Knights. 
  14. ^ "Silk Road Connect". Silk Road Project. 
  15. ^ "VBIMF". VBIMF. 
  16. ^ "GALA Brooklyn". GALA NYC. 
  17. ^ "Rachel Barton". Rachel Barton-Pine. 
  18. ^ "Sandeep Das". Rachel Barton-Pine. 
  19. ^ "Duo with Balla Kouyate". Club Passim. 
  20. ^ "Duo with Clay Ross". Clay Ross. 
  21. ^ "Duo with Hanneke Cassel". Hanneke Cassel. 
  22. ^ "Duo with Yang Wei". Pipa Sensation. 
  23. ^ "Duo with Darol Anger". Darol Anger. 
  24. ^ "Mike Block Band". Mike Block. 
  25. ^ "Triborough Trio". Triborough Trio. 
  26. ^ "Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble". Silk Road Project. 
  27. ^ "Founder: Mike Block". GALA NYC. 
  28. ^ "Founder: Mike Block". Block. 
  29. ^ "Cellist Mike Block recital Nov. 9". Illinois State University. 
  30. ^ "Student Artist Spotlight: Adrianne Ngam '13". The Cornell Daily Sun. 

External links[edit]

Supporting links[edit]

GALA NYC links:

  • www.GALAnyc.com

Wall Street Journal article:

MBSC links:


Silk road interview: