Guy Mendilow Ensemble
...[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…
— Wellesley News

Presenter Testimony

"Culturally significant."— Bruce Halliday, Port Theatre, Nanaimo, BC, Canada

“A resurgent force … explodes with artistry, refinement, and excitement” — Yvon Shore, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati OH

“I dare any audience to not be swept away by this show." — Natalie Neuert, UVM Lane Series, Burlington VT

"...captivates the audience. The ensemble brings a vitality to the music that I hadn't experienced with other Sephardic artists." — Jordan Peimer, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA

“In the long term, both residency and performance gave legitimacy and merit to our overall education goal.  Because it was such a successful process with such an overwhelmingly positive outcome, it lends credibility to our continued efforts to expand our educational outreach.  And, it should encourage continued giving to the theater.

The residency certainly made strong impact not only on the students but also the faculty and staff.  The reaction was so solidly affirming — even students who as a general rule don’t speak up or engage were doing just that by the end of the residency sessions.

The performance made a lasting impact on our patrons.  It was thought provoking and not soon forgotten. This was a highly skilled style of musical storytelling, a unique departure from the ordinary, and it surpassed attendance expectation.

Guy Mendilow was not only a pleasure to work with, his process and product exceeded expectations.  The ensemble was worldly, interesting and humble.  Such a treat for us to have the opportunity to present.” 
— Erin Butler, Executive Director, Wyo Theater, Sheridan, WY

“It was a joy to experience the Guy Mendilow Ensemble for a range of audiences, from our youth concert series where our youngest viewers were immediately engaged and participating before the first note was even played, to our general audiences who were transported through global sounds and stories rooted in diasporic music traditions recontextualized in original works composed for this dynamic, border crossing ensemble.”
— Jason Finkelman, Director, Global Arts Performance Initiatives, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana, IL

"Our audience of (800) children was transfixed. I was spellbound. This is the kind of experience that can open your eyes and ears to possibilities never imagined... I asked the children as they were leaving the theatre after the concert how the experience had been for them. It was the first time I heard unanimous appreciation. If you are trying to open your audiences to new horizons, if you are trying to expose the arts to children or adults, if you seek a new experience for yourself, I highly recommend the Guy Mendilow Ensemble to you." 
— Chad Haight, Admiral Theatre, Bremerton, WA

"Magical! They performed superbly and let us dream throughout the Mediterranean world." 
— Peter Steinfeld, ACES Series, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA

"…transports the listener to a place far removed from the concert hall or outreach service site." 
— Steven Schmidt, Riverside Concerts, Rochester, MN

“One of the most moving and exceptional nights of music I have ever had the privilege of experiencing… Being able to expose students and community members to such a diverse range of music is so important.” 
— Sharon Silverman, University of Vermont

" of our most inspiring and unique musical productions that we have had. Many audience members were moved nearly to tears, some definitely to tears, by the emotional story that accompanied such moving, stirring music."
Brian Campbell, Mission Valley Live, Polson, MT

"... a great evening of beautiful music and exceptional musicianship!"  
— John Chicherio, Performing Arts Director, Huntington Summer Arts Festival, Huntington, NY

"...a vital and vibrant way to illustrate the possibilities of interfaith and intercultural cooperation. 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 and interfaith cooperation." 
— Greg Mcgonigle,  Tufts University, Medford, MA

“Our school audiences were absolutely enthralled by the Guy Mendilow Ensemble. Guy’s compelling presence draws young people into a musical and narrative journey that sparkles with humor and humanity, compassion and joy.

 Around the World in Song is a wonderfully engaging, deeply musical experience. As enchanting as it is pedagogically sound, the show includes meaningful roles for the children at every turn, conveyed with an underlying respect for children as fellow people. 

 The Forgotten Kingdom opens a space to experience Ladino music and culture from a contemporary perspective, through the captivating and soulful singing of Sofia Tosello and Guy Mendilow, and the sensitive musicality of the entire ensemble.

 In addition to his consummate musicianship, Guy Mendilow brought a high level of organization, responsiveness, and generosity to his residency that were an absolute joy to work with.”
— Emily Laugesen, Co-Director Of Engagement, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Urbana, IL

“’Diversity’ is one of our core values, and we wanted to offer a memorable opening event for the series. Attendance was far greater than we had anticipated...The combination of effective storytelling and mesmerizing music, all framed in the context of little-known history, was more powerful than we had imagined. The Ensemble also delivered an information-filled educational outreach session with band and choral high school students that generated a remarkable level of interest in both the music and the history it represented.  Many students stayed after the session to interact directly with the musicians and get pointers on their own musical aspirations.” — Karen M. Thorson, Sanders County Arts Council, Plains, MT

“…artistic quality of the highest caliber.
From the start and especially through-out the planning stages, I found Guy to be engaging and thoughtful in our discussions.  He took a great deal of time to ask questions that would help determine the best way to assist us in accomplishing our programming and outreach goals. Guy showed a great deal of understanding for the challenges Presenters face... His consistent and accurate follow up did not lessen once the deal was inked. Guy made sure to keep the communication flowing up to, during and following the residency. 

In addition to an evening performance, we had various opportunities for outreach activities with different members of the ensemble.   They spent time with a women’s study class at our liberal arts college as well as with our fine arts students.  Sitting in on these outreach programs, I was impressed by his knowledge of the historical, social and cultural background of the pieces he drew his inspiration from.  He provided solid insights to their relevance in this modern world we live in.

I would certainly consider working with Guy and the Ensemble again in the future.”
— Blake Smith, General Manager, Clayton Center for the Arts, Maryville, TN

“Our Colorado College freshmen class spent a fascinating morning with Guy Mendilow and his ensemble. Guy has a wonderful way of captivating the audience… The analysis of historical events, especially as they relate to our times, as well as issues of cultural identity, added great depth. Finally, the musical performance was superb in every aspect!”
— Ofer Ben-Amots, Chair, Music Department, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO

“A memorable and exciting concert…a truly moving evening of music and story. In addition, we were thrilled to have the group conduct a choral vocal workshop for approximately 80 students involved in the choir program at Moody Middle School of the Arts. I would not hesitate to recommend Guy Mendilow Ensemble for its high level of artistry, tuneful and accessible music, and great work with kids.”
— David Mann, Performing Arts Manager, Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam, BC, Canada

"Guy Mendilow Ensemble’s Around the World in Song is compelling, wonderfully engaging and deeply educational. For children, GME cultivates listening and musical skills in ways that are important and unusual, addressing contemporary social issues with tact, thoughtfulness and caring. Their performance was an inspiring event for me as an audience member and instructor, for my graduate students (all whom are teachers and pre-service teachers), and for the hundreds of elementary school children present. Warmly and enthusiastically recommended!" — Liora Bresler, University of IL, Champaign, IL

“The entire program was magical. The musicianship was top notch, the music beautiful and imaginative and the presentation was captivating.  The Guy Mendilow Ensemble provided a very memorable and warm experience. The [group] also provided a children’s program that was captivating.  The children were very involved, dancing, clapping and singing, the message was very positive and the music was wonderful.”
— Lev Rothenberg, Director of Arts & Education, JCC Indianapolis, IN 

"The ensemble takes you on a tour through an almost lost world that is filled with stories, beautiful melodies, and traditions. Guy and his ensemble have a way of capturing this tradition while making it accessible and engaging for a contemporary audience. From small children to the elderly, the music has a broad appeal that reaches in a way that’s entertaining and enlightening. Simply said, you come to enjoy a concert, but the cultural experience and learning is much deeper. Guy and his ensemble were clearly connected with the audiences, which were mesmerized. From his showmanship to his skill as a convener, teacher, and cultural explorer, Guy Mendilow is reviving an important culture though his music, one that I believe has much value throughout the world." 
— Laura Mandel, Executive Director, Boston Jewish Arts Collaborative, Boston, MA

“They were mesmerizing…Their musicianship, versatility, and originality was most impressive. Our audience left raving about their talent and the sound of their music.”  
— Rich Warren, nationally syndicated broadcast, The Midnight Special/Folkstage, WFMT Chicago

"The Guy Mendilow Ensemble brought the larger world to our rural community through their music, stories and conversations. Fantastic musicians yet they offer more than just music.  They offer insight into other cultures, languages and times." — Rita Collins, Sunburst Arts, Eureka, MT

“The group is truly a topflight ‘world music’ group …the Guy Mendilow Ensemble enthralled, educated and engaged the audiences with its artistic excellence. I would also add that, at this past year's First Night performance, the group demonstrated truly exceptional professionalism. Despite the bitterly cold, icy weather and a van transmission that failed midway along the trip from Boston area to NJ, they kept in touch and managed to arrive, set up and perform — with distinction — for the event. After 10 hours of harrowing travel, to deliver a beautiful performance which inspired a capacity crowd of over 400 people is testament to their dedication and remarkable professionalism. I recommend the group very highly and without reservation.”  
— Dr. Lynn L. Siebert, Director of Arts Participation & Communications, Arts Council of the Morris Area, Morristown, NJ

"We brought the Guy Mendilow Ensemble to our congregation and the band had the exact effect for which we had hoped: our community turned out in droves, exceeding our own expectations, and they kept coming back for each successive program.  Guy was amazing — he is a terrific teacher and a wonderful collaborator.  We established goals in advance of the weekend and every single one was met.  I can strongly and enthusiastically recommend an Artist In Residence weekend with the Guy Mendilow Ensemble!"  
— Bradley G. Levenberg, Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Atlanta, GA

“…one of the most memorable concerts I've attended in my seven years in Vermont. The Guy Mendilow Ensemble was an amazing musical experience that had people awed and grateful. I would highly recommend them not only as superb musicians and storytellers but also as a perfect bridge between Jewish and non-Jewish events. The turnout exceeded our expectation and included significant attendance by non-RJC-members, non-Jewish guests who came from near and far for this extraordinary group.” 
— Martha Molnar, Rutland Jewish Center, Rutland VT

"In his masterly way, Guy Mendilow and his Ensemble combines teaching and entertainment with a soul." 
— Deborah Feinstein, President of the board of Directors,  The Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture, Boston, MA

“I just wanted to reiterate for you what an excellent experience Shady Hill had with Guy Mendilow Ensemble this fall. This Monday I performed my winter concert with my Chorus, and we reprised one of the numbers that GME taught us in the collaboration at the beginning of November. Many aspects of the concert had a lasting impact on the kids. Several adults in the community shared that they thought he was one of the best visiting artists we've had here, and personally, I appreciated how professional the entire ensemble was and easy to deal with while preparing for the performance.” — Darin Goulet, Performing Arts Department Chair, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA (Residency sponsored by Celebrity Series of Boston)

“What an amazing job of demonstrating that “you can make music from everything” while engaging the students for the entire hour!  All the kids were smiling as they left and I heard many comments like, “This was really fun!” and “Best music ever!”  I received an email from the superintendent later that day saying all the students returned to the school jazzed by the program and thanking us.  Each of the teachers also emailed with compliments.”— Leslee Miller, Manager, Artisans at the Dahmen Barn, Uniontown, WA (Outreach sponsored by Washington State University Performing Arts)

“From the moment they began, the children were mesmerized. Guy Mendilow is not only a talented musician, but a gifted educator as well. He could read the group perfectly and knew exactly what the students needed next. The other musicians in the group were equally talented and the whole group together was one of the best performances I have experienced in over 26 years of education.” 
— Tina Monroe, Principal, Indian Creek Elementary School, Cedar Rapids IA (outreach sponsored by Legion Arts)


Media Impact

" of hope and affirmation, sophisticated in its delivery but easily accessible to listeners anywhere."
—Chicago Tribune

"An international tour de force."
—Bethlehem Morning Call

“…operatic in scope, this is one set sure to take you places you've only heard in dreams…this is an armchair traveler's deluxe accommodation. A total delight for the adventurous, adult ears.”
— Midwest Record

"...a full sound that would be perfectly suited for a movie soundtrack, both ethereal and solid, ranging from haunting to mournful to jovial...In the beginning of the evening, the audience seemed awestruck at the end of each song, as a tangible silence separated the song’s conclusion and the beginning of applause. By the end of the night, the enthusiastic crowd was clapping before the tune’s last notes had faded."
—Sanders County Ledger

"...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

"...poetic and moving..."
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

"an evocative trek through former Ottoman lands, an allegory that ultimately begs some questions about ourselves today, and the ways these stories continue to play out, in a modern guise... The emotion and the stories comes clear, whether you understand the words or not."
Perceptive Travel

"One of the most ear-opening albums of the year. During the 1960s, Kaleidoscope featuring David Lindley stretched the boundaries of world music within a rock band about as far as they could be stretched, walking away with a reputation as heroes for sonic adventurers. The Guy Mendilow [Ensemble] may not be quite as rambunctious, but they are no less daring."
—The Boomer's Guide to Music & News

"One of Boston's most original world-music acts."
—Boston Herald

"With scintillating vocals and instrumentation, this is a show that will likely stay with you long after the final note." 
— MaineToday

"sensuous and vibrant...searing...sensitive and graceful...
This is an album that takes you on a journey..." 
— Jazz Weekly

"The Guy Mendilow Ensemble embodies world music at its best."
—The Cedar Rapids Gazette

"...powerfully emotive..."
 — Shepherd Express

"Auditory magic." — Wildy's World  

"Guy Mendilow is quickly developing a reputation as a masterful, deeply passionate and sincere performer."
 —Global Rhythm Magazine

"A magical, shape-shifting world music quintet hailing from four countries...Often reminiscent of David Lindley's all-encompassing, stripped-gear approach to pan-genre explorations."
— Iowa City Press-Citizen

— WFMT Chicago

"This is, to folk, what Bela Fleck is to Foggy Mountain Breakdown. This is unusual and exciting."
—Philadelphia Folk Song Society

"The glory of what [Mendilow] does is finding a common ground among different cultures. And that's what makes his music so exciting."
— Jewish Advocate

"This isn't for quirky ears, it's for jaded ears that need to be shaken awake with something substantially different that keeps the interest on the beam throughout. Delightfully different, even when it seems like it might be familiar." 
—Midwest Record

"Vibrant musical storytelling awash with warm harmonies, captivating rhythms and rollicking, fast-paced vocal improvisations."
— Cambridge Chronicle