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.” His last SMF appearance was in 2014, when he also worked as a clinician in the Acoustic Music Seminar. In this special performance, Block welcomes his Silk Road Ensemble bandmate, tabla player Sandeep Das, for a duo set that The New York Times once reviewed as a “breathless duet… Half dance, half dare, it exemplified much of the interaction between the musicians, which turns any performance into a visual spectacle.” Bengali musician Das made his stage debut in India in 1986 at age 15 with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, and has since become recognized as one of the world’s leading tabla maestros.
Previously of the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet, Jeremy Kittel has been a composer-arranger-collaborator for a range of artists including My Morning Jacket, Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble and Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn. He blazes through a Bach violin partita as easily as a Scottish reel, bringing the same intense focus and precision to both. Kittel & Co. features guitarist Quinn Bachand (Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster) and Acoustic Music Seminar alumni Joshua Pinkham (named “the future of the mandolin” by Mandolin Magazine), cellist Nat Smith (Sarah Jarosz, Rhiannon Giddens, Kacey Musgraves) and Simon Chrisman on hammered dulcimer.