Somewhere between a top-tier world music concert and This American Life, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble is "an international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from the Middle East, South and North America. GME combines evocative music and storytelling in shows exploring pivotal moments of change — not from the vantage of historical hindsight, but as reflected in the day-to-day of those living through the shifts, not knowing how the dots will ultimately connect. To gain insight into these moments, the Ensemble draws on traditional tunes, technique, and tales but in elegant arrangements and with radical reframing.
Whisking audiences to picturesque times and sweeping landscapes, conjuring voices lost to war and upheaval, GME holds a mirror to our own hopes and tensions in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), stirring deeply moving connections to struggles and dilemmas we tangle with today.
The National Endowment for the Arts recognizes the Guy Mendilow Ensemble for the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art 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, Overtone Singing, Berimbau, Guitar
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.
Artistically, Mendilow draws on a life-long study of the direct emotional language of music, together with a love of story and a historical fascination. His shows marry emotionally penetrating music with evocative storytelling to transport audiences to the long-ago-and-far-away in order to ask difficult questions about our own circumstances.
Alongside performance, Mendilow is active in music education, pursuing Dalcroze Education as a means of teaching musicianship while cultivating vital skills such as deep focus and the sense of contribution, capability and belonging that together form esteem. Mendilow designs custom artist residencies for leading performing arts organizations like Celebrity Series of Boston, including innovative storytelling/songwriting projects with at-risk populations.
Mendilow’s research interests include the music and culture of Sephardic communities of Salónica in the early twentieth century.
Mendilow is a guest artist-lecturer in universities across the U.S. including Harvard University, Cornell University, Brandeis University, Oberlin College, University of Oregon and the University of Washington, leads children's workshops in schools worldwide and directs the Dalcroze School of Boston, offering Dalcroze Education for children and adults in the Boston area.
From Cordoba, Argentina, vocalist Sofia Tosello is part of an exciting group of young transnational artists advancing change in Latin American song. She brings her expertise in such Latin American Cancion traditions as Tango, Chacarera, Bolero, Son and Zamba into the broader “world” jazz scene, including Bossa Nova and Funk. Ms. Tosello has performed, recorded and toured worldwide with renowned bands and artists such as Horacio “El Negro Hernandez”, Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra, Aquiles Baez, Julio Santillan, Alex Cuba, Pavel Urkiza, Marta Gomez, La Cumbiamba eneye, Thalia. She is on the voice faculty at the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India and is a guest artist-educator at universities and schools throughout the U.S., Peru and Argentina.
Learn more about Sofia at sofiatosello.com
Drums & Percussion
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
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
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