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Mike Block

Pioneering multi-style cellist and composer Mike Block’s recently released album, Walls of Time, debuted at #3 on the Bluegrass Charts. Chock full of masterful cello music  performances with traditional and new elements, the collection pulls in influences from other genres that make it a special listen.

Block was trained as a classical musician, but revels in innovatively mixing genres and playing styles. On Walls of Time he takes well-known folk songs and re-imagines them with inimitable artistry. His vocal performance is strong, too, creating an enthralling musical experience. 
 
Case in point is the song, “Walls of Time & Glory In The Meeting House,” shared in this music video. Here we’ll find Mike with his cello, backed by Zachariah Hickman on bass, Bruce Molsky on fiddle, and the fabulous Mark Erelli on harmony vocals. This all strings performance combines bluegrass music mastery with a haunting yearning.
 
Block shares this about the song: 
 
“I really enjoyed mashing this bluegrass song up with an old-time fiddle tune. We used sections of the fiddle tune to replace the improvisational breaks in the bluegrass song, and Bruce Molsky even used a special instrument with sympathetic strings to capture an otherworldly sound. He also detuned to play in a different key than usual. My favorite aspect of the arrangement was getting the harmony vocals to toggle back-and-forth between major and minor in the choruses. We tried to give it a dramatic arc by massively re-harmonizing the final chorus before kicking up the tempo for the final fuddle tune break. I hope everyone enjoys this unique approach!” 
 
Watch now:
 
 
Mike has stayed busy since the release of Walls of Time. Late last month, he self-released a completely improvised duo album 13 Shades - 13 Farbtöne with the brilliant jazz cellist from Berlin, Stephan Braun. "We have known each other for many years," Mike says. "It was special to spend a day in the studio together this summer when he came through Boston."
 
Mike Block shares his innovative style as one of our master instructors for online cello lessons here at ArtistWorks. While at Juilliard he was tapped to join Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. His unconventional style of playing cello while standing up has garnered him recognition, and he was the first standing cellist to perform at Carnegie Hall. Mike has served as music director for musicians as diverse as Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin and Damian Woetzel (Principal at NYC Ballet) among others. As a solo performer and he has recorded with a wide variety of musicians including Stevie Wonder, Alison Krauss, Edgar Meyer, Tim O’Brien, Lenny Kravitz and more. 
 
Mike Block’s upcoming tour dates and events:
 
January 11-19 - Youth Music Culture Guangdong, Guangzhou, China
Mike will be teaching/performing with Yo-Yo Ma, Michael Stern, Brooklyn Rider, and more!
 
January 29 - Solo Show, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI
 
January 30 - Solo Show, West Denmark Lutheran Church, Luck, WI
 
January 31 - Solo Show, Birdhouse Center for the Arts, Lambertville, NJ
 
February 2 - Guest Artist Residency, 3rd Street Music School Settlement, New York, NY
 
February 8 - Celebrity Series Presents Mike Block with Cantare, Boston, MA
 
February 18 - Mike Block & Balla Kouyate (with full band), Club Passim - Cambridge, MA
 
February 19-23 - Wintergrass Festival: Mike Block & Balla Kouyate (with full band), Bellevue, WA
 
June 8-14 - Silkroad’s Global Musician Workshop, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
 
July 6-11 - Mike Block String Camp, Vero Beach, FL
 
Want to experience a cello online music lesson with Mike? Click here to try one for free
 
Other articles you might find interesting: 
4 Famous Cello Pieces You Should Know
Big Bluegrass Getaway Recap
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