Guy Mendilow Ensemble
Folding radio drama-style stories into a top-flight world music concert, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble (GME) 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, GME draws on traditional tunes, techniques, and tales in elegant arrangements and with radical reframing.
Guy Mendilow, Artistic Director; Voice, Piano, Berimbau, Guitar
Guy Mendilow was raised in a philosophically oriented, world-traveling family prioritizing continuous learning, disciplined curiosity and giving back. His love of music and story reflects his family’s multi-generational fascination with the unspoken ways we make meaning of an ambiguous world around us. “These are the stories we unknowingly tell ourselves about ourselves and the ways we relate to what surrounds us,” Mendilow says. “These stories are like the air we breathe: Most often they go undetected.” Like his family, Mendilow is tantalized by ways of listening that bring these stories, and the values embedded in them, to the attentional surface. His work is first and foremost to listen, and then to strive to refract these stories’ emotional landscapes. In combining music and stories, he seeks to build a personal, humanized connection to lives and experiences that may otherwise be detached, only conceptual, or “other.”
A citizen of Israel, Britain and the USA, Mendilow began his professional stage career at age 10, touring internationally and domestically with the American Boychoir and singing 200+ concerts a year in venues from Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall to churches in rural communities whose zip code outnumbers their population. 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. Today, Mendilow brings his finely crafted arrangements and stories to performing arts centers and cultural centers across a wide swathe of communities.
Mendilow specializes in designing in-depth community engagement for performing arts organizations. He focuses on cultivating long-lasting connections between performing arts presenters and community leaders, from juvenile rehabilitation schools and urban K-12 schools to university campuses across the USA. Mendilow earned his Masters in Music, as well as certification in Dalcroze Education from the Longy School of Music, and is candidate for the Dalcroze License, the highest Dalcroze degree obtainable in North America. He directs the Dalcroze Music School of Boston, providing training in musicianship through purposeful movement for adults and children.
Sofía Tosello, Voice
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.
Chris Baum, Violin/Soundscape Design
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.
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.
In my 27 years of hiring artists, I can truthfully say that Guy is one of the finest and most intelligent musicians I have ever encountered...[He is] a music educator with very high standards.
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.
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.
...captivating! The children were very involved, dancing, clapping and singing, the message was very positive and the music was wonderful.
There’s nothing that engages kids as much as showing your interest in them: that doesn’t happen as a general rule. Guy’s commitment grows out of a deep respect for the abilities, potential, and rights of kids.
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.
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!
... 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, or interfaith cooperation.
“Just thank you for doing what you all do! It is so beneficial to students like ours who may not ever have the chance to see a live performance, let alone done with different instruments.”
“The children LOVED the performance. They loved being part of it, with singing and with the body movements. I had several teachers express how well done the performance was.”