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2014 MBSC Faculty
Mike Block – Hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the "ideal musician of the 21st Century", Mike Block is a
pioneering multi-style cellist, composer, and educator living in Boston. While still studying at the Juilliard School, Mike joined Yo-Yo Ma's
Silk Road Ensemble, and shortly thereafter also joined Mark O'Connor's Appalachia Waltz Trio, which he played in for over three years.
Mike has also toured extensively with Darol Anger's Republic of Strings and The Knights orchestra. Mike is Associate Professor at the
Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.
His most recent album of original songs, Brick by Brick, features music he wrote and recorded while missing nine teeth, as the result of a traffic accident. In 2011, Mike released Naive Melody, an instrumental folk album with The Triborough Trio, and in 2009 and 2010, released two albums of original music with The Mike Block Band: Words R Words (songs), and After the Factory Closes (instrumental). Mike is also the Artistic Director and Host of GALA Brooklyn: "Global Art = Local Art", a Music Festival held at the Brooklyn Lyceum featuring a diverse array of world-class musicians in unique collaborations.
Zach Brock – One of the most virtuosic and emotive voices of contemporary jazz violin, Zach Brock
has followed a path which embraces not only jazz, but also classical, world, and popular music. From critical acclaim as a
bandleader to international exposure in collaborations with Stanley Clarke, Grazyna Auguscik, and Frank Vignola, Zach continues
to gain admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike.
Zach’s repertoire includes re-workings of songs by Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Phil Markowitz, and Zbigniew Seifert, in addition to an evolving catalogue of his own compositions. His latest CD The Magic Number, with bassist Matt Wigton and drummer Fred Kennedy, offers a telling glimpse of why Zach is being heralded as “the great bright hope for jazz violin.” (Chicago Tribune)
Hanneke Cassel – "Exuberant and rhythmic, somehow both wild and innocent, delivered with
captivating melodic clarity and an irresistible playfulness," says The Boston Globe about Hanneke Cassels playing. Such charismatic
fiddling has brought Hanneke Cassel many honors and awards. She is the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, she holds a
Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music, and she has performed and taught across the U.S., Scotland,
Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Italy, China, and Austria.
Native of Port Orford, Oregon, Hanneke started playing classical violin when she was 8-years old. She met Portland-based fiddler Carol Ann Wheeler when she was 10 at an Texas-style fiddle contest. She soon quit classical, started taking fiddle lessons with Carol Ann, and began competing in contests throughout the Northwest. In 1991, Hanneke entered the Columbia-Pacific Scottish Fiddle Contest in Portland. She won the Jr. contest and went on a year later to capture the U.S. National Scottish Jr. Championship in New Hampshire. With this honor came a scholarship to study on the Isle of Skye, Scotland with the renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and Cape Breton master Buddy MacMaster.
Joe Craven – Creativity educator, former museum curator, visual artist,
actor/storyteller, festival emcee and recipient of the 2009 Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year, Joe Craven
has made music with many folks ranging from jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli to Grateful Dead Guitarist Jerry Garcia.
Always looking for the next expression and object to make music with, he is a musical madman with anything that has
strings attached; violin, mandolin, tin can, bedpan, cookie tin, tenor guitar/banjo, mouth bow, canjoe, cuatro, berimbau,
balalaika, boot ‘n lace and double-necked whatever. Joe has created music and sound effects for commercials,
soundtracks, computer games and contributions to several Grammy nominated projects. 'Everything Joe touches turns to
music,' says mandolinist David Grisman, who Joe played with for almost 17 years.
Brittany Haas – Brittany Haas plays fiddle in the world-renowned band, Crooked Still,
one of the most popular and innovative Alternative-Bluegrass bands in
the country. Previously, Brittany was a member of Darol Anger’s
Republic of Strings. Her first self-titled CD was released on Ook
records in 2004 and includes guest musicians Bruce Molsky, Darol
Anger, Todd Sickafoose, Mike Marshall and Natalie Haas. Her repertoire
focuses on Appalachian mountain music played on the 5 string fiddle.
She studied with Darol Anger for several years. Brittany graduated
Princeton University in 2009, where she was a member of the marching
Natalie Haas – Vibrant young cellist Natalie Haas is a seasoned performer, artist, and teacher.
She plays regularly with master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser throughout Europe and North America. Their first duo
release, Fire & Grace, was awarded the Best Album of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2004. A graduate of the Juilliard
School in New York and a California native, Natalie has also toured extensively with fiddling legends Mark O'Connor, Natalie MacMaster
and Hanneke Cassel. Natalie has appeared on over 50 albums, and teaches periodically at fiddle camps and workshops around the globe.
Lauren Rioux – is a proud Maine-iac, born in Portland and raised in East Machias, and graduating from University of Southern
Maine with degrees in Violin Performance and Music Education on full-scholarship. She has toured the US of A and parts of Europe and the UK with string luminary
Darol Anger and his Republic of Strings, as a duo with fiddle prodigy Brittany Haas, and as a trio with Scott Nygaard and Portland's own Joe Walsh in Crow Molly. Lauren is enthusiastically
sought out for her teaching expertise and leads classes and workshops across the country. She maintains a very active private studio at
her home in Scarborough, through which she teaches a delightfully rowdy group of over thirty violinists, violists, and fiddlers ranging in age from 5 to 70.
Joe Walsh – is a Bluegrass mandolin player known internationally as an exceptionally tasteful player from his work with the legendary
Gibson Brothers band, which the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has named winner of awards for Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, Vocal Group
of the Year, and Song of the Year. Joe has also released two recordings under his own name, featuring original compositions and vocals, as well as friend and legendary
fiddler Darol Anger, with whom Joe regularly tours. After being the first mandolinist to graduate from the Berklee College of Music on that instrument, Joe returned
to Berklee in 2011 as both a mandolin instructor and as Managing Director of the American Roots Music Program.
Kai Welch (Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Trumpet) – Pure rocker, pure folkie, pure punk, pure street.
I am not a pure anything. I'm an American and that doesn't mean anything either. But it is in Nashville that I found my indispensable
musical comrades – people who inspire me and with whom I get to collaborate, like Abigail Washburn, Brittany Haas, Bela Fleck, and so
many more. It's a music party all of the time, and as much as I long for the days of high-seas and high-mountain adventuring, I love
being in a place where everyone speaks the language. It's our headquarters, and from here we launch global missions of goodwill and
music-making. For the past two years, Kai has toured a collaborative record he created with Abigail Washburn called "City of Refuge".
He has recently released his debut solo record, entitled "Send It Down".
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