Folding radio drama-style stories into a top flight world music concert, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble is "an international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from the Middle East, South and North America. GME combines musicianship with cinematic storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places, conjuring voices lost to upheaval, to spark personal connections with stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary moments of change. Adding such visceral dimensions to tales of the long-ago-and-far-away, GME shows stir resonant questions about our own struggles and dilemmas today. To bring audiences into these moments, the Ensemble draws on traditional tunes, techniques, and tales but in elegant arrangements and with radical reframing.
GME draws on expertise with a broad musical palette. The emotionality of Western classical music is intensified by the bittersweet rawness of Tango, gorgeous vocal harmonies and the rhythmic fire of classical Arabic percussion. GME’s storytelling is inspired by the dreamlike qualities of Pablo Neruda and Michael Ondaatje, and by Dan Carlin’s vivid restoration of faded historical memory.
The Ensemble is honoured to be the recipient of multiple funding awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Boston Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts and Western Arts Alliance on the basis of its artistry, cultural preservation and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
The Guy Mendilow Ensemble tours three shows: The Forgotten Kingdom — Sand Stories (premieres 2019); Around the World in Song interactive children's concerts(K-4); and Heart of the Holidays: Tales of Light. Distinguished educators, the ensemble specializes in community engagement including tailor-made residencies, choral/string collaborations and a breadth of interactive workshops. The Ensemble is an artist-in-residence with Celebrity Series of Boston's Arts for All since 2014.
Alongside touring with the Guy Mendilow Ensemble, members are on the faculty of music schools like the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India and tour/record with the likes of Bobby McFerrin, Yo Yo Ma, Snarky Puppy, the Assad Brothers, Christian McBride, the Video Game Orchestra, Amanda Palmer and Simon Shaheen. Formed in 2004, the Ensemble is based in Boston, MA and New York, NY, USA.
Director of Music & Education; Vocals, Narration, Berimbau, Guitar
MM/Dalcroze Certification, Longy School of Music; BA, Oberlin College.
Guy Mendilow grew up in what seemed like a global game of hopscotch, choosing between three passports in homes in the Middle East, North, Central and South America and Africa. He began his professional stage career at age ten, touring internationally and domestically with the American Boychoir and annually singing some two hundred concerts in venues like Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall and Lincoln Center. These formative years did more than just nurture Mendilow's love of harmony and of the performing arts. It also showed him, first hand, how high youth can rise when properly respected and supported by adults, a principle that remains vital to Mendilow's work as an educator.
Mendilow draws on a life-long study of the direct emotional language of music, together with a love of story and a historical fascination. He combines musicianship with radio drama-style storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places to spark personal, visceral connections with stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary change.
An artist-in-residence with leading performing arts organizations like Celebrity Series of Boston, Mendilow is a visiting artist at universities across the U.S. from Harvard, Cornell and Brandeis to the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. His commitment to the rights of children and cutting-edge pedagogy combines with an emphasis on equity in envelope-pushing residencies designed specifically around the interests and cultural pulse of specific communities. Mendilow directs the Dalcroze Music School of Boston, the only Boston school currently offering ongoing adult Dalcroze rhythmic and ear training courses, in addition to a seven-year curriculum for children.
MM/BM, Queens College of Music
From Cordoba, Argentina, vocalist Sofía Tosello draws on her expertise in Latin American Cancion traditions from Tango to Chacarera to bring Sephardic song alive in bold colours. Part of an exciting group of young transnational artists advancing change in Latin American song, Tosello performs and records worldwide with artists like Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Alex Cuba, and Marta Gómez. She is a teaching artist at performing arts organizations like NY’s Carnegie Hall and at universities from Reed College to the Swarnaboohmi Academy of Music in Chennai, India.
Learn more about Sofia at sofiatosello.com
Drums & Percussion
MM & BM, Berklee School of Music
Originally from Jerusalem, percussionist Tareq Rantisi began performing internationally in his teens with the Edward Said National Conservatory, appearing on such acclaimed recordings as the feature film soundtrack to Bird on a Wire. Tareq was awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee School of Music. He regularly collaborates with such artists as Simon Shaheen, Majazz, Kudsi Erguner and Mangred Leuchter, performing on stages from the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation in the US to Montreal's Royal Conservatory of Music and the Chabada Festival in France. Learn more about Tareq at tareqrantisi.com
Woodwinds, Jawharps, Mbira, Saxophones
BA, University of Massachusetts
American multi-instrumentalist, composer, and recording artist Andy Bergman plays clarinet, saxophones, and a variety of other woodwind and percussion instruments. Grounded in classical technique, Bergman's musicality is informed by years of work with a wide range of ensembles from orchestras and theater pits to afro-funk, klezmer, folk, reggae, and jazz bands. His growing list of credits includes appearances at the Chicago World Music Festival, Oslo World Music Festival, Festival Mawazine (Morocco), Baloise Session (Switzerland), Cully Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Rep), Ashkenaz Festival (Toronto), Cappadox Festival (Turkey), Women Of The World Festival (Frankfurt), Carthage Jazz Festival (Tunisia), Philadelphia Folk Festival, Celebrity Series (Boston). Current collaborations include tours and recordings with Iyeoka, Guy Mendilow Ensemble, The Macrotones, Destroy Babylon, and The Doped Up Dollies. Learn more about Andy at andybergman.com
BM, Berklee School of Music
Chris Baum is a contemporary violinist, composer, and educator who "ushers the violin into fresh sonic territory" (NPR). A pioneer of modern string technique, his strength lies in his versatility, consistently pushing boundaries while molding his playing to fit ensembles and genres often deemed unsuitable for the instrument. Trained in a demanding classical environment, Baum expanded his musical vocabulary at Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with honors, studying under cellist Eugene Friesen, violinist Mimi Rabson, and composer Sheldon Mirowitz. Chris' growing list of credits include collaborations with Bent Knee, The Dear Hunter, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Dropkick Murphys, Amanda Palmer, Symmetry, Art Decade, Ben Levin, Guy Mendilow, Jherek Bischoff, and the Video Game Orchestra, who recently featured him as a soloist at Boston’s Symphony Hall and on the ensemble's recent tours in China, Taiwan, and Japan. Learn more about Chris at chrisbaummusic.com