On Saturday, November 17, we’ll welcome GRAMMY-winning cellist Mike Block to our stage for a rousing solo concert and special student workshop.
Known for his musical versatility and “standing cello” live performances, Block won a GRAMMY award as a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, and was called “the ideal musician of the 21st century” by the legendary cellist. Hailed by the New York Times for his “vital rich-hued solo playing,” Block is also a prolific singer-songwriter and multi-genre performer. His 2018 folk release, Final Night at Camp features roots/bluegrass/world flavors and features all-star players, including jazz/folk fiddler Darol Anger. Block released his second recording of the year, Echoes of Bach, just this month.
This week, Block took a few minutes from his busy schedule to chat with us.
Can you share a bit about your beginnings in music and what inspired your interest in the cello?
I grew up in an orchestral family full of Western Classical musicians, so playing an instrument was always something I’ve done.
Yo-Yo Ma has hailed you as “fearless” and the “ideal musician of the 21st century.” Can you talk about your relationship with him and his impact on you as a musician and educator?
Yo-Yo Ma has been a huge influence on my life since a child, as I grew up with his albums. As a colleague, he is continually inspiring both musically and on a human level, and he is particularly sensitive to people’s motives and intentions. He has helped me think more deeply about why we play/teach music and what we hope to be able to accomplish and share with others!
You’re also an inventor! Tell us about the Block Strap.
I enjoy moving and standing while I perform/teach, thanks to a custom-designed strap I made and now sell through CelloStrap.com
Tell us about the Pop Strings Summit workshop you’ll be leading for string students on November 17. What can participants expect to learn?
I’ll be able to work with students in an intimate workshop sharing some contemporary and traditional ideas with them in preparation for a culminating performance together with them at the end of my solo performance that evening.
See Grammy-winning cellist Mike Block in concert on Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm. Get your tickets here.
Popular Boston podcast “Above the Basement” will record a live “concertcast” and interview with Block before the concert begins at 7:00pm. Concert attendees are welcome to observe the recording.
String players ages 8-18 are invited to attend the “Pop Strings Summit” workshop from 4:00 – 6:00pm. Advanced registration is required, so sign up now.