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 calls 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.
Pioneers of ‘live podcast theatre,’ GME’s shows intertwine “masterfully narrated” (Welland Port Colburn Concert Association) stories with riveting music. The novel format is easily familiar thanks to podcasts’ popularity, together with the comfortable feel of radio dramas: Narration with an evocative underscore paves the way for the story to play out through emotionally powerful musical segments. The Guy Mendilow Ensemble tours a range of shows, often featuring luminary collaborators like poet/author Regie Gibson and sand artist Kseniya Simonova.
Distinguished educators, the Ensemble specializes in residency work and community engagement. The Ensemble is an artist-in-residence with Celebrity Series of Boston's Arts for All since 2014 and designs custom residencies for performing arts organizations across North America.
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, 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 Music School of Boston, offering Dalcroze Education for adults and children in the Boston area. Mendilow founded the ensemble in 2004.
From Cordoba, Argentina, vocalist Sofia Tosello draws on her expertise in such Latin American Cancion traditions as Tango, Chacarera, Bolero, Son and Zamba to bring GME vocals alive with 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. Sofia has been with GME since 2012.
Learn more about Sofia at sofiatosello.com
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. Tareq has been with GME since 2011.
Learn more about Tareq at tareqrantisi.com
Woodwinds, Jawharps, Mbira, Saxophones
Grounded in classical technique, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and recording artist Andy Bergman 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, The Macrotones, Destroy Babylon, and The Doped Up Dollies. Andy has been with GME since 2004.
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, 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. Chris has been with GME since 2014.
Learn more about Chris at chrisbaummusic.com