Mike Block String Camp  
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Main Week Faculty (June 29 – July 4, 2015)
Extension Week Faculty (July 6 – July 10, 2015)
  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.
Casey Driessen – has spent his career pushing the boundaries of fiddle music. After earning a 2007 Grammy Nomination for Best Country Instrumental for his multi-tracked solo fiddle rendition of Jerusalem Ridge, Driessen has moved on to incorporate wide-ranging influences into his third record, called The Singularity. A self-recorded and self-produced album recorded in between touring with Bela Fleck’s The Flecktones, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, and opening for the Zac Brown Band, it features his "Tanuki Attack", featuring all percussive fiddle - "a tune without any notes," he jokes. It was inspired by the sounds made while Driessen experimented with chopping, a percussive bowing technique that Driessen has developed to a level of unmatched sophistication. Driessen's continued interest in percussion has also led to the creation of Fiddle/Sticks, an ongoing audio and video project in which he collaborates with drummers like Jamey Haddad, Kenny Malone, and Futureman.
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.
Jeremy Kittel – Jeremy Kittel has earned a reputation as one of the most exceptional violinists and fiddlers of his generation. With a rare mastery of styles as diverse as jazz, Scottish and Irish fiddle, bluegrass, and classical music, Kittel inspires listeners and fans worldwide with his Jeremy Kittel Band (quartet). He is also frequently called upon by some of today's most influential artists, including Bela Fleck, My Morning Jacket, Mark O'Connor, Abigail Washburn, Paquito D'Rivera, and he recently completed a five-year full time position in the Grammy-winning Turtle Island String Quartet. His most recent solo recording, Chasing Sparks (Compass), features original compositions with a stellar cast of musicians including Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Mike Marshall, and has garnered rave reviews among acoustic music circles worldwide.
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.
Clay Ross – A guitarist, vocalist, composer, and songwriter based in NYC, Clay’s music covers a wide range of styles including rock, pop, jazz, funk, folk, world, blues, and bluegrass. After receiving a BFA in composition from the University of Charleston, Ross became an integral part of the South Carolina jazz scene and relocated to NYC in 2002. In 2005 he became a member of Cyro Baptista’s world-renowned percussion ensemble “Beat the Donkey,” with whom he toured regularly until 2009. In 2006 he was honored as a U.S. Jazz Ambassador and has completed four tours abroad for the U.S. State Department.

He has released 4 albums as a leader, and can be found performing at concert halls and music festivals around the world with rising folk star April Verch, as a solo artist, and leading his cross-cultural band, “Matuto.”
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".
    Mike Block – See left for bio.  
  Zach Brock – See left for bio.
  Hanneke Cassel – See left for bio.
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.
Alex Hargreaves – Violinist Alex Hargreaves is an active performer, touring extensively with Sarah Jarosz, appearing on her two critically acclaimed albums, Song Up In Her Head, Follow Me Down and Build Me Up From Bones (Sugar Hill Records), as well as being featured on her Grammy-nominated instrumental, Mansinneedof. He^apos;s also toured with Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Danilo Perez, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Noam Pikelny and has shared the stage with many others including Mark O’Connor, Chris Thile, Brian Blade, Joe Lovano, Mumford & Sons, Tim O’Brien and Sam Bush.

He is the youngest ever (age 15) to win the Grand Champion division at the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and in 2009, won the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship in Nashville. He is a member of world-renowned mandolinist Mike Marshall's Big Trio, along with bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers). Matt Glaser, artistic director of Berklee College of Music, American Roots Program, states simply, "Truly, Alex Hargreaves is the best young jazz violinist in America". David Grisman comments, "[Alex] plays with wit, authority and soulfulness belying his years. In my opinion, he's destined to be one of the fiddle giants of the 21st century." For Mike Marshall, Alex is "arguably one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today."
Kimber Ludiker – Two-time Grand National Fiddle Champion (2009 and 2010), Kimber was born of fiddle-playing parents--who met competing with each other at a fiddle contest! This Washington state native excelled from an early age at Texas-style fiddling and went on to win multiple fiddle championships including the Washington State Championship, Colorado State Championship and the aforementioned Grand National Fiddle Championship in Weiser, Idaho. She has performed with Mark O'Connor, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Laurie Lewis, Hanneke Cassel, and her brother Dennis, a well-known fiddle/mandolin player from Austin, TX.

As a founding member of the all-"girl" Bluegrass super-group Della Mae, she is widely regarded as a pillar of the new-generation fiddle scene, and can be found performing at every major festival across the country.
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.
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