Lectures & Masterclasses

Myths, Lies & Truths: Romanticizing Traditional Cultures

This interactive lecture explores the ways that historical forces, commercial agendas and technological change can result in a romanticization of traditional cultures — to the point that members of that culture no longer measure up to our distorted perceptions of what they're supposed to be.  Using the case study of Sephardic music from the former Ottoman Empire, we explore these shifts in both their inadvertent and intentional forms. How is it that music from the turn of the 20th century became perceived as Medieval?  Who gains, and who loses, when traditional music is taken beyond its native contexts? Through field recordings from Sephardic communities in the Balkans and Mediterranean, as well as live performance from the award-winning Guy Mendilow Ensemble, this lecture traces the changes to these traditional songs with powerful implications for us today.

Topics include:

  • What challenges do modern creatives face when working with traditional material — especially from endangered cultures?

  • What are implications for questions of authenticity? 

  • How can audiences navigate exploitative marketing traps?   

The Guy Mendilow Ensemble and their work is a vital and vibrant way to illustrate the possibilities of interfaith and intercultural cooperation. The fact that the band includes members from Israel and Palestine, North and South America makes their music a global experience that is helping to heal the world.
They are among the finest musicians I have ever heard, and I would recommend them strongly to any university or college campus that cares about diversity, multiculturalism, interfaith cooperation and world peace.
— Greg Mcgonigle, President of the National Association of College & University Chaplains; Tufts University, Medford, MA

Listening Through The Music: Team-Building Through Improvisation

from Olive Branch Mid-East educators Journal published by Seeds of Peace - torn edges.jpg

Exciting, quickly learned improv games give participants experience critical to working with others: the abilities to tune in, connect, and respond spontaneously and meaningfully to one another to make fresh, fulfilling music.

Geared for music educators as well as classroom teachers, this experiential workshop delves into the theory and practice of team building and the cultivation of leadership through games in musical improvisation. 

This workshop requires no previous musical experience. Participants should come ready to move and play. This workshop has used by mediation organizations like Seeds of Peace and featured at universities and conservatories including the Longy School of Music of Bard College and Moravian University.

Listening Through the Music is grounded in principles of Dalcroze Eurhythmics
Read articles about the program and see an outline for a sample workshop on the Educators' Resources page

Sailors, Sirens & Kings: Exploring Traditional Ladino Song

This interactive, often witty, lecture-demo introduces Ladino song types, history and language. Field recordings from various Ladino communities are presented both as musical examples and as illustrations of the songs’ functions within traditional contexts.

The session zooms out to explore broader performance issues and challenges faced by musicians working with traditional repertoire in general. Topics include:

  •  In what ways have traditional Ladino songs adapted to new cultural environments, both historically and in modern times?
  • What are implications for questions of authenticity?
  • What roles, responsibilities and obstacles do performing artists have when working with traditional material?  

Demonstrations from members of the award-winning Guy Mendilow Ensemble and samples of other artists’ interpretations provide an entry-point into a discussion of the tension between preservation and change within a tradition.  

Guy Mendilow

M.M. Longy School of Music; International Certificate, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Longy School of Music; B.A. Oberlin College

Guy Mendilow is Director of Music and Education for the Guy Mendilow Ensemble, "An international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from the Middle-East, South and North America. The Ensemble combines world-class musicianship with cinematic storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places to stir highly resonant connections to contemporary struggles and dilemmas.  

The Guy Mendilow Ensemble was distinguished by the National Endowment for the Arts for public engagement with diverse and excellent art and the strengthening of communities through the arts, and is the recipient of grant awards from foundations like The Boston Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, Arts Midwest and Western Arts Alliance.

Alongside performance, Mendilow is active in music education, pursuing Dalcroze Education as a means of cultivating musicality while fostering 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 and including innovative storytelling/songwriting projects with at-risk populations.

Mendilow’s research interests include 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.