“A startlingly virtuosic and accessible new string duet has recently materialized: Hanneke Cassel and Mike Block. This duet has got to be one of the most exciting developments in the String World since the legendary Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, and these two have upped the ante considerably by including ingenious treatments of modern pop songs, classical crossover covers, Hanneke’s extremely soulful compositions and Mike’s brilliant, often hilarious original songs. There appears to be nothing these two can’t do musically, from the deepest traditional wellsprings to driving toe-curling acoustic fireworks. 2 huge personalities let us into their amazing musical world.”
— Darol Anger, Grammy-nominated Fiddler and Berklee Faculty
Effervescent and engaging, Boston-based fiddler Hanneke Cassel is a performer, teacher and composer whose career spans over two decades. Her style fuses influences from the Isle of Skye and Cape Breton Island with Americana grooves and musical innovations, creating a cutting-edge acoustic sound that retains the integrity and spirit of the Scottish tradition. A native of Port Orford, Oregon, Hanneke started out as a Texas-style fiddler and went on to win the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship.
Mike Block is a pioneering multi-style cellist, singer, composer, and educator, hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st-Century”, and acclaimed by the NY Times for his “vital rich-hued solo playing”. While still studying at the Juilliard School, Mike joined Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, with which he has toured extensively throughout the world, and won a 2017 Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. Mike is also an active recording artist of original material, folk music, cross-cultural collaborations, and he has an ongoing project to record all of the Bach cello suites in acoustically glorious bathrooms of famous concert halls, via BachInTheBathroom.com. As one of the first wave of cellists to adopt a strap in order to stand and move while playing, Mike was the first standing cellist to perform at Carnegie Hall, using a cello strap of his own design, called the Block Strap, a performance which the NY Times called “Breathless … Half dance, half dare.”