Big Galut(e) Klezmer Ensemble to bring epic Yiddish tale to life at Cornell University on Feb. 21

“Monish,” by I.L. Peretz, is the story of an irascible Satan, his irresistible wife Lilith and a young Jew who just wants to be left alone with his books. On Wednesday, February 21, at 7:30 pm, the Cornell Jewish Studies Program and Cornell Department of Music will present an evening of music and dance, inspired by Peretz’s classic poem. Created and performed by Big Galut(e) Jewish Music Ensemble, the production features an original score of klezmer music and tangos, an English text in verse and a trio of dancers bringing the characters of “this humorous and poignant tale to life.” The performance will take place in Barnes Hall on Cornell’s Ithaca campus; tickets are not required.
The score was created by Sanford Margolis, professor emeritus of piano and former instructor of Yiddish at Oberlin College, soloist with the Minneapolis Symphony, and veteran performer of jazz and klezmer music. The music is performed by Big Galut(e), winner of the Simcha Prize at the 2017 International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam. The ensemble was recently featured at the Glimmerglass Festival and New York Klezmer Series, and has been described by critics as “soulful and unselfconsciously poignant,” “jubilant” and “a real treat for open minds.”
Big Galut(e) strives to present “meaningful and exciting experiences” of Jewish music through its repertoire spanning five continents and six centuries. Writer/narrator Sasha Margolis is violinist for Big Galut(e), author of the novel “The Tsimbalist” and an occasional actor on TV. Choreographer Colby Thomas has performed widely throughout Europe and America in productions of Lloyd Webber, Offenbach, Bernstein, Sondheim, and Rodgers and Hammerstein, and is currently stage director and lecturer in voice at SUNY Oneonta. Other Big Galut(e) members include clarinetist Robin Seletsky, guitarist Michael Leopold, accordion player Mark Rubinstein and bassist Richard Sosinsky. Dancers Kelsey Hall, Emily Walling and Kristin Goodwin are students at SUNY Oneonta.
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