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Big Galut(e)


June 19, 2016

This concert only: 3 PM at the
Grounds of the Cyr Center
169 W Main St, Stamford NY Calendar General Info Contact FoM Donate Founders & VIPs Concert Archive

Photo of Big Galut(e)

Big Galut(e) is a quintet of like-minded and like-hearted musicians who love to make people laugh, then make them cry, all while exploring a unique and fascinating repertoire of Jewish music from five continents and six centuries. Noted by critics for “the virtuosity of its members” and lauded as “vivacious,” “joyful,” “jubilant,” “a real treat for open minds” and an “alleged Klezmer band,” Big Galut(e) has played as soloists with orchestra, at colleges and universities from California to Ohio, on chamber music series from Hawaii to New York, at the National Yiddish Book Center, and at synagogues, temples, and Jewish Community Centers nationwide.

Visit their Web site at to read more about the group, the individual artists and to hear samples of their work.

Given the overwhelming audience response to the Big Galut(e) concert in August 2013, Friends of Music is happy to feature their encore performance as part of our 30th Anniversary season. In keeping with this landmark year the artists will perform on a stage under a tent on the grounds of the Cyr Center, our former home which was destroyed by fire in 2014. While the beloved building is no longer there, the large parking lot remains usable, and the tent will be visible from West Main St for those not familiar with the location.

Click here to read more about the Cyr Center.


June 19, 2016

Big Galut(e)

Robin Seletsky, clarinet
Sasha Margolis, violin
Michael Leopold, lute
Mark Rubinstein, accordion
Richard Sosinsky, double bass

The program will range from “Keepin’ It Kosher,” a klezmer medley written right here in upstate to NY, to “Wallachian-Appalachian Scratchin',” a fiddle tune from the coal-mining hill region of Romania; from Jewish-inspired pieces by Mahler and Musorgsky to a reinvented sonata by Jewish Baroque composer Salamone Rossi; all capped off by a unique take on “Minnie The Moocher” that lets the whole audience join in the fun.

Program subject to change.

Please join us for this special day of music and celebration, to be followed as always by refreshments after the concert. Admission is at the door only by suggested donation of $12 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and students and anyone under 13 years of age is admitted at no charge.

This concert is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Grant Program, administered in Delaware County by The Roxbury Arts Group, Inc.

Logo of the New York State Council on the Arts Logo of the Roxbury Arts Group

An additional “Thank you!” to all of our donors and especially to the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation for your generous support which makes this concert and our entire season possible.

Photo of clarinetist Robin Seletsky.


Clarinetist Robin Seletsky is a multi-faceted performer with interests in the classical music world as well as folk and avant-garde styles.After graduating from New England Conservatory she attended the Juilliard School and for many years was Principal Clarinetist with the Binghamton Philharmonic and the Glimmerglass Opera Festival. In 2008 she was cited by the New York Times for her work with Glimmerglass: “Robin Seletsky, the principal clarinetist, blew a jazzy solo onstage during ‘Too Darn Hot’...and offered stylish solos from the pit.”

Robin is equally at home with the klezmer style. She grew up listening to her father, the renowned clarinetist/composer Harold Seletsky (the “The Prez of Klez”), and has since found her own voice in this Eastern European folk style. She has performed around the country and as far away as India both as a klezmer soloist with symphony orchestras and as a member of Big Galut(e). Robin has given master classes on classical and klezmer clarinet styles at colleges and universities including Skidmore, Sonoma State, Hartwick and SUNY Binghamton, and her recordings and original compositions have been featured on NPR programs. Additionally, several of her works served as the inspiration for choreography by the St. Louis Ballet and the Vassar Dance Repertory Company. Robin can be found on the web at - her personal website where she blogs regularly, gives online lessons and where her video tutorials on klezmer style can be found.

In addition to her work as a performer and teacher of clarinet, Robin Seletsky is an adjunct instructor at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College. Professional affiliations include memberships in the International Clarinet Society and the Guild of Temple Musicians.

Photo of violinist Sasha Margolis.


Sasha Margolis is a violinist, author, composer, and arranger, and sometimes he even sings. As a violinist, he is well-versed in classical, klezmer, new, early, and jazz music. Praised by the Washington Post for his “incisive, vibrato-rich tone,” he has performed chamber music in Italy, Japan, and throughout the U.S. At Spoleto Festival USA, Mr. Margolis was concertmaster for U.S. premieres of little-known operas by Janacek, Bellini and Donizetti, also playing and acting in Mauricio Kagel’s La Trahison Oral. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Andres Cardenes and Ann Williams, the Maia Quartet, members of the Corigliano and Pro Arte Quartets, and has played as a guest member of the Arianna Quartet. While a student at Oberlin College, he performed the Berg Violin Concerto with Robert Spano conducting.

Mr. Margolis' klezmer-themed novel The Tsimbalist will be published shortly, and he is co-creator of the musical theater piece The Tale of Monish. His short story “The Fallen Cone” received a commendation from the Sean O’Faolain International Short Story Competition; he has also written for Opera America Magazine and currently publishes short fiction and thoughts on Jewish history and music at

Sasha Margolis has appeared for a total of about two minutes on network TV: five seconds of these were spent impersonating a strolling violinist on ABC’s Lost; the remainder, reciting Shylock’s “I am a Jew” speech [from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice] on CBS Sunday Morning. He has played klezmer music since childhood.

Photo of lutist Michael Leopold.


Michael Leopold holds degrees in historical plucked instruments from Sacramento State University (1998) and in lute and theorbo from L’Istituto di Musica Antica of the Accademia Internazionale della Musica (2004) in Milan, Italy. Originally from Northern California, he performs both as a soloist and as an accompanist throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, Chile, Mexico and the United States. In addition to his work with Ars Lyrica, the Catacoustic Consort and other American period-instrument ensembles, he has played with a number of leading Italian early music groups, including Concerto Italiano, La Risonanza, La Venexiana and La Pietà de’ Turchini. He has also collaborated with several orchestras and opera companies, including Orchestra Verdi di Milano, Opera Australia, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, and Portland Opera. He can be heard in recordings on the Stradivarius, Glossa, Naïve, and Naxos labels.

Photo of pianist Mark Rubinstein.


Mark Rubinstein’s wide range of interests, his insatiable curiosity, and the unusual scope of his abilities have combined to generate a unique and diverse musical career. Mark’s main instrument is piano, but he has played drums in punk bands, electric bass in salsa groups, and accordion in settings ranging from symphony orchestras to avant-garde theatre pieces. His interest in ethnic music has led him to seek out performance opportunities in Greek, French, German, Italian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Brazilian, and traditional Jewish music. Mr. Rubinstein’s work as a recording engineer has led to Grammy nominations and platinum records for his clients, and his productions are noted for their clarity of sound and attention to detail.

Photo of bassist Richard Sosinsky.


Richard Sosinsky (double bass) is active as a chamber musician, orchestral bass player, and with cutting-edge jazz and new music groups. He has performed with Newband (custodians of the Harry Partch collection of instruments), Washington Square Chamber Music Society and New York Philomusica. In Martha Clarke’s “KAOS,” he played bass, mandocello, banjo, jaw harp and percussion. As an orchestral player, he is a member of the American Composers Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic and Riverside Symphony, and performs with American Ballet Theater, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, New Jersey Symphony Knickerbocker Symphony, Albany Symphony, and Opera orchestra of New York. Mr. Sosinsky holds degrees from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, and The Juilliard School. He appears on Daywood Drive Records with Dan Willis and Velvet Gentlemen on The Satie Project (2010.)

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