Big Galut(e) Klezmer Ensemble Brings Epic Yiddish Tale to Life

January 29, 2018

“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. The Cornell Jewish Studies Program and Cornell Department of Music will present an evening of music and dance, inspired by Peretz’s classic poem at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in Barnes Hall. Created and performed by Big Galut(e) Jewish Music Ensemble, this 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 is free and open to the public.

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 unique 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.

More information can be found at

  Big Galut(e) Jewish Music Ensemble: Richard Sosinsky, Sasha Margolis, Robin Seletsky, Michael Leopold, Mark Rubinstein