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A man with a donkey cart beside Lake Karakul in China

© ALEX SIEVERS

Why the Silk Road?
The historic Silk Road trade network provides a namesake-worthy metaphor for the Silk Road Project’s vision of connecting artists and audiences around the world. Yo-Yo Ma has called these routes, which resulted in the first global exchange of scientific and cultural traditions, the “Internet of antiquity.” The Silk Road Project takes inspiration from this age-old tradition of cross-cultural exchange.


© ANTONIA NELSON


"Mike Block's witty songs, entertaining cello accompaniment and delicious arco solos are absolutely engaging."

- MARK O’CONNOR


Mike Block

Cello (United States)  Mike Block is a pioneering multi-genre cellist living in New York City. Mike is the singer, cellist and composer for the Mike Block Band, which features a unique mixture of original songs and instrumentals drawing upon multiple genres. In addition to the MBB, Mike performs with the Triboro Trio, featuring contemporary arrangements of traditional and new folk music from around the world.

While studying at the Juilliard School, Mike joined the Silk Road Ensemble, and upon graduation in 2006, joined Grammy Award winner Mark O'Connor in his Appalachia Waltz Trio. Since then, Mike has become an in-demand performer in a variety of musical genres, and has played with groups such as Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, The Knights, The Absolute Ensemble, Sirius String Quartet, Flux Quartet, yMusic, Bassam Saba's New York Arabic Orchestra, and a duo with Chinese Pipa virtuoso Yang Wei.

Mike's compositions have been performed at the Bremen MusikFest, Tribeca New Music Festival, the MATA Festival, and the Kimmel Center series "Fresh Ink," in addition to his numerous compositions for the MBB.

A frequent performer in Germany, Mike gave the world premiere in 2008 and also recorded Gregor Hubner's Cello Concerto No. 1, which showcases Mike's non-traditional pizzicato and improvisational abilities.

Mike also co-created Kreol, a software program that turns your computer into a musical instrument that you play by typing into the keyboard.