Grammy-winning cellist Mike Block headlines Ridge String Fling on Oct. 27

The first-ever Ridge String Fling at SUNY New Paltz presents a full day of performances, workshops and improvisation with Mike Block, the internationally renowned cello player, singer and composer, on Sunday, Oct. 27.

Block is a Grammy Award-winning member of the Silk Road Ensemble and has been called the “ideal musician of the 21st century” by Ensemble founder Yo-Yo Ma.

He headlines Ridge String Fling with a solo cello recital at 4 p.m. in McKenna Theatre. His show features a mixture of original compositions, arrangements of traditional folk music, and classical selections that draw inspiration from his diverse collaborations with artists ranging from Mark O’Connor and Sandeep Das to, Stevie Wonder and Bon Iver.

In addition to his exceptional record as a performer, Block is an experienced educator on the faculty of New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation program and the Berklee College of Music.

As part of his appearance at SUNY New Paltz, Block has invited violin, viola, cello and bass students in eighth grade and up to join him for a string improvisation workshop, an incredible opportunity for aspiring musicians in the region to jam with and learn from a Grammy Award-winning artist.

The improvisation workshop takes place at 1 p.m. and is followed by a chamber music master class at 2:45 p.m. Both sessions will be held in Shepard Recital Hall on the New Paltz campus.

“We are thrilled to be able to learn from Mike Block, a master improviser and passionate educator,” said Assistant Professor Christiana Fortune-Reader. “He is the ultimate role model for modern musicians, integrating education with cross-cultural influences and original compositions seamlessly into his training as a classical musician.”

Registration for the full day of Ridge String Fling offerings – which includes the string improvisation workshop, a ticket to Block’s solo recital, and a Ridge String Fling t-shirt – is $20. Please use this link to register.

Tickets are also available for those interested in attending only the 4 p.m. recital. The cost is $8 for the general public; $6 for seniors and SUNY New Paltz faculty, staff and alumni; and $3 for students. Tickets can be purchased online or in the lobby of McKenna Theatre one hour prior to show time.

The event is presented as part of the SUNY New Paltz Department of Music’s fall 2019 Music Concert Series.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Christiana Fortune-Reader at

If you have accessibility questions or require accommodations to fully participate in this event, please contact Russell Thompson at as soon as possible.