The-Mirror-of-Story_v3.jpg

• University  - Adult • Single Session • Length: 60-90 minutes • Class visit or public lecture • Configuration: Trio or Quintet
•  Relevant to: History/Cultural Studies/Judaic & Near-Eastern Studies/Global Studies/Music/Ethnomusicology

“Because of  indifference, one dies before one actually dies” — Elie Wiesel

 Cavalry on the eve of the Battle of the Frontiers, 1914. The romance of war as felt by those riding off, and as exemplified in pre-WWI songs

Cavalry on the eve of the Battle of the Frontiers, 1914. The romance of war as felt by those riding off, and as exemplified in pre-WWI songs

Creating the motivation to care — seeing with open eyes and the combined power of empathy and understanding — is vital if we are to learn from history and avoid repeating mistakes of the past.  So much of what drives shows like The Forgotten Kingdom is the unique ability of evocative stories, together with the direct emotional language of music, to transport audiences to the long-ago-and-far-away... in order to raise a mirror for our own here-and-now.
The Forgotten Kingdom tells of the passing of an older age whose ending begins with WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and concludes definitively with WWII. The progression can be traced in the imagery of the songs themselves. For example, compare the  armies and battles portrayed in pre- WWI songs with those that come after.
There are haunting parallels between those times and ours, perhaps most strikingly the rise of such early twentieth century Utopian movements as fascism.

Through narrative and live musical performance, this talk illustrates:

 The realities that armies encountered on the battlefield. War begins to be portrayed in starkly different terms in the songs people sing

The realities that armies encountered on the battlefield. War begins to be portrayed in starkly different terms in the songs people sing

  • The ways that pre WWI imagery contrasts with imagery from the fascist era

  • Disconcerting similarities and encouraging differences between the 1930s and our time today

  • How stories coming from remote, overlooked times and places can be made to resonate with modern imaginations

Why it’s relevant: As we question democratic values, civil rights and political communication,  stories and compelling music provide a platform to safely engage with modern dilemmas.

Further listening: National Endowment for the Arts Art Works podcast with Guy Mendilow

Further Reading: 

...the Guy Mendilow Ensemble calls on listeners to think not only about the past, but also about the ways in which the music resonates with their own lives... [a] marriage of storytelling with music to whisk people away to places that are different from their current setting, so that they can look at their current setting in a new way…It’s a meditation on our own humanity and our own situation.
— Wellesley News

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.