New Music Video released! Check out this arrangement of an American folk classic featuring American and Malian musicians, Darol Anger (fiddle), Balla Kouyate (balafon), Joe K. Walsh (Harmony Vox), Idrissa Kone (percussion) Ive Endured
New Music Video released! Check out my new song Sea of Love
New Music Video released! Check out my performance of this mid-20th-Century solo cello classic Ligeti Cello Sonata, Mvt 2
New Music Video released! Check out my new tune Final Night at Camp
New Music Video released! Check out my new song Its Time to Dance!
GRAMMY Award for best World Music Album The Silk Road Ensemble won a 2017 Grammy award for our album Sing Me Home! www.SilkRoadProject.org
Facebook Live Broadcast with Syrian and Iranian musicians Sandeep Das, an Indian Tabla player, Kinan Idnawi, a Syrian oud player, Farzin Dehghan, an Iranian Kemanche player, and myself performed live online to help celebrate the culture and some of the people from the countries on the travel ban list. #MusicUnites Watch Video here!
Youth Music Culture Guangdong This was the debut of an annual educational event for Chinese Classical Musicians in Guangzhou, China, led by Yo-Yo Ma, and conductor Long Yu. I directed the non-classical portions of this event, as well as performed the Zhou Lin Duo Concerto for Cello and Sheng at the Opening Ceremony with fellow Silk Road Ensemble member Wu Tong, and Resident Conductor of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Jing Huan www.YMCGChina.com
Mike Block String Camp Dates and Faculty Announced! Come join us for the Main Week: July 3-8, or the Extension Week: July 10-14, or the Florida Band Incubator: July 10-14 www.MikeBlockStringCamp.com
Global Musician Workshop Dates and Faculty Announced! Come join us May 30-June 5, along with an incredible faculty of world-class Global Musicians! www.GlobalMusicianWorkshop.com
Performed at Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival with legends Tony Trischka, Mike Marshall, Bryan Sutton, Darol Anger, Michael Daves, Andy Hall, and Missy Raines in a set featuring all of us Bluegrass teachers from the groundbreaking instructional website ArtistWorks.com
Awarded United States Patent for the Block Strap All 14 patent claims for my design of an intentional harness to enable a cellist to stand while playing was approved by the US Government. View the patent.
Documentary Movie about Silk Road Ensemble is in theaters! Directed by Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20-Feet from Stardom), Im honored to be shown few times playing and speaking in this beautiful and moving film tracing the fascinating life stories of some of my colleagues in the Silk Road Ensemble!
Find a showing near you here!
Sold out show at Chicago Symphony Center I performed an all-cello concert with Yo-Yo Ma, Chicago Symphony cellists John Sharp (Principal), Katinka Kleijn, Richard Hirschl, Loren Brown, as well as Jeffrey Ziegler (Kronos Quartet) and Ashley Bathgate (Bang on a Can All-Stars) in a concert featuring many of my arrangements!
Strings Magazine profiles the Block Strap We got a great write up about the background behind my design, and benefits of playing playing cello standing up! Read Full Article Here!
Concerto Performance with the Illinois Symphony I had the honor of being the first cellist after Yo-Yo Ma to perform the Zhao Lin "Duo concerto" for Cello and Sheng (Chinese traditional wind instrument), along with fellow Silk Road Ensemble member Wu Tong, and Maestro Alistair Willis. This was my first concerto performance in many years, and I had a wonderful week in Springfield seeing all of the Abraham Lincoln historical sites! Also, to my knowledge, these were the first concerto performances by a standing cellist :) Watch short Trailer Video here!
Passim Iguana Music Fund Grant for new album! I was doing a bunch of recording at the end of 2015 for my new album of American folk standards, featuring musicians Darol Anger, Joe Walsh, Stash Wyslouch, Karl Doty, Balla Kouyate, Indrissa Kone, Greg Liszt, and others! I am excited and grateful that the legendary Club Passim has awarded this project an Iguana Music Fund Grant to support cost of recording at the wonderful Dimension Sound Studios in Boston. www.passim.org/iguana
Bela Fleck joins the 2016 Global Musician Workshop! As director of GMW, I am very excited to announce that Bela Fleck is our 2016 Featured Guest Artist. If you are a musician and would enjoy the opportunity to work with Bela and the rest of our amazing and diverse faculty, check out our website at www.GlobalMusicianWorskhop.com
2016 Mike Block String Camp Dates and Faculty Announced! Main Week is July 4-9, and the Extension for Advanced Players is July 11-15. We are also debuting the *NEW* Florida Band Incubator (F.B.I.) July 11-15 for pre-formed groups to receive artistic and professional guidance from our world class faculty. More information at www.MikeBlockStringCamp.com
MULTI-STYLE ONLINE CELLO SCHOOL LAUNCHES AT ARTIST WORKS! I am so excited for my cello school to start at ArtistWorks! I spent five months planning the curriculums in multiple styles (Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical), with a comprehensive Beginner Multi-Style curriculum, and a boat load of Intermediate/Advanced Technique videos. We even have a section on Rhythmic Playing, Chopping and Singing-while-Playing! I spent 9 LONG days in the studio making this extensive Library, and even got Rushad Eggleston and Jeremy Kittel to join me for a day to record performance versions of most of what I taught. If all that wasnt enough, the coolest part about ArtistWorks is that I can do 1-on-1 Video Exchanges with my students to still give personalized feedback, and form a close relationship over the long run. If you, or someone you love, is a cellist, come check it out!!
Bach In The Bathroom video series! Ever since I started using the strap, I randomly walk around my house while practicing and inevitably end up playing Bach Suites in the bathroom, where the acoustics are resonant. So, I decided to start doing the same thing back stage while on tour with the Silk Road Ensemble, and I brought a video camera so I can share this beautiful music with the wold the way I hear it! :)
The First Cello Strap now available! So I have been working on the design for 2 years, and now The Block Strap is finally available for Pre-Orders, expected to be shipped by May 1st!
sold-out concerts with New York Philharmonic Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble were featured in three subscription concerts by the NYPhil in Lincoln Center - the NY Times review featured an incredible picture of ME standing next to Yo-Yo!!?? what the what? :)
Click for NY Times Review Photo
PBS Peoria to broadcast my solo show. At the end of a week long residency Feb 8-12 with the Peoria Symphony in Illinois, I was featured on the hour long WTVP show "SoundBites", playing music from my solo show. Not sure when it will air yet ....
Global Musician Workshop Announced Yo-Yo Ma asked me to direct a new world-music summer program on behalf of Silkroad, and we are currently accepting Applications! The dates are June 8-12, 2015, and the faculty includes Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Jarosz (American Folk), Sandeep Das (Indian Tabla), Hadi Eldebeck (Arabic Oud), Kaoru Watanabe (Japanese Flute), Shane Shanahan (world percussion), and myself!
Mike Block String Camp releases MUSIC VIDEO! A cover of Rather Be by Clean Bandit.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH!
VERO BEACH INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL Our 1st Annual Festival will feature some incredible musicians from Bluegrass, Celtic, Latin, Rock, Jazz, and World Music styles, as a day-long finale to the Mike Block String Camp. VeroBeachInternationalMusicFestival.com
Music Videos with Berklee Pop String Ensemble During our last class of the semester, my student ensemble made two fun videos to share: Happy - by Pharrell Williams and This Must be the Place - by Talking Heads
New album #1 on Billboard Classical Charts! Our new SONY album, "A Playlist without Borders", by the Silk Road Ensemble, is number ONE, and has been streamed over 250,000 times on Spotify! The album opens with a duet I recorded with tabla player Sandeep Das, and also includes a cello solo performed by Yo-Yo Ma that I MAY, or may not, have written for him while on my lunch break at Berklee .... not telling ;)
Performed with Yo-Yo Ma in Carnegie Hall! Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Silk Road Ensemble, the NY Times review singled Mike out with the following review of the concert: “The breathless duet by his [Yo-Yo Ma’s] solo cellist Mike Block with the tabla player Sandeep Das … was another highlight of the evening. Half Dance, half dare, it exemplified much of the interaction between the musicians, which turns any performance into a visual spectacle.”
BROOKLYN POP STRING CAMP! Faculty and dates have been announced for this new camp I’m directing at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music this summer - August 12-17! Check out the website for details:
APPEARED IN LAST EPISODE OF 30ROCK ON NBC! I played cello in a string octet backing up "Jenna" in the Series Finale, aired 1/31/13. Goodbye Liz Lemon!
2013 MIKE BLOCK STRING CAMP dates are announced! now with three locations in Vero Beach, Florida - Saline, Michigan - Portland, Maine!!
"A LATE QUARTET", a new movie I was a consultant for stars Philip Seymour-Hoffman and Christopher Walken opens! If you ever dreamed of watching Christopher Walken pretend to play the cello, than THIS is your chance!! :)
Watch YouTube Trailer
I PERFORMED MY SONG "BRICK BY BRICK" WITH WILL.I.AM (BLACK EYED PEAS) AND YO-YO MA at the WWW Conference, founded by Richard Saul Wurman, the founder of TED. Check out my Facebook page for pics!
WWW Conference website
PLAYED DUO SHOW WITH ROCHESTER PHILHARMONIC CONCERTMASTER Juliana Athayde and other chamber music at the Canandaigua LakeMusic Festival in NY state - I did a short radio interview that you can listen to here:
Click Here to Listen!
APPOINTED ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC in Boston, Massachussettes! Berklee is the most famous school for college-level education in non-classical styles. I will be a Visiting Professor in Fall 2012, and start teaching a full cello studio in Spring 2013.