Skip to main content
ECA Voice of the Cantor

ECA Voice of the Cantor

By European Cantors
An innovative new series of talks in which renowned cantors speak about the joys and fears of the Jewish Prayer leader across the Jewish world today. In 10 episodes, building fortnightly.

SCROLL BELOW TO HEAR THE EPISODES
Currently playing episode

International Launch Of The Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Cantors, Chazanim, Ministers and Synagogue Musicians: their history and culture.

ECA Voice of the Cantor

1x
Voice of the Cantor 2 - Episode 1 : Cantor Beny Maissner
Internationally renowned Cantor Beny Maissner of Toronto opens the second series of our Voice of the Cantor talking about his remarkable career in conversation with European Cantors Association director Alex Klein.  Recorded live on 13th October 2021.
01:18:03
October 24, 2021
International Launch Of The Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Cantors, Chazanim, Ministers and Synagogue Musicians: their history and culture.
The European Cantors Association launched Michael Jolles’s Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Cantors, Chazanim, Ministers and Synagogue Musicians: their history and culture on October 6th.  This book is a major contribution to the knowledge of cantors and ministers who have served British Jewish communities in a musical capacity over the centuries from 1656 to the present day. After ten years of dedicated research, Dr Michael Jolles has produced a remarkable volume of material never assembled in one place before. It includes much information that is not available in any other publication.
01:09:26
October 10, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 10 : Cantorial Art, Into The Future I : The Rise Of The Female Cantor
Opportunities for women to enter the cantorate are relatively recent in its 200+ year history. While women in the cantorate are more established now in progressive communities in the United States, what are the opportunities and challenges for cantors in such synagogues in the UK, Europe and Israel in the coming years, in a societal framework of greater diversity and inclusion? with: Cantor Jaclyn Chernett European Academy for Jewish Liturgy Cantor Zöe Jacobs Finchley Reform Synagogue, London Cantor Tamara Wolfson Alyth Reform Synagogue, London Shani Ben Or Jerusalem and New York Cantor Daniel Singer Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, NYC Moderator Russell Grossman
01:39:17
July 4, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 9 : Cantorial Art, Into The Future I : Renaissance In Europe
In the penultimate session in our series, we look at the resurgence of cantorial art in Europe in new or revived communities since the Holocaust, a renaissance which has established since the end of the Cold War and the creation of the European Union. What challenges have the cantors in these communities faced and how have they dealt with them. What challenges and opportunities remain? Our panel includes distinguished cantors, including from “new” communities across Europe. with Chief Cantor Shmuel Barzilai Viennese City Temple Cantor Assaf Levitin Ex- Hanover Liberal Jewish Community Cantor Nathan Goldman IRGW Stuttgart Synagogue Cantor Daniel Rudas Dohany Synagogue Budapest Cantor Bryan Wood Alt Neu Shul Prague Moderator Hirsh Cashdan
01:46:08
June 27, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 8 : Who Needs A Shul Choir?
European Jewry has had a choral tradition for 200 years.   But has the conventional choir outlived its usefulness?     Do we need a new agreed model for congregational singing?    If we keep our choirs, should they be community assets or staffed by professionals (or a mix)?     What role has the choir in keeping old traditions going and teaching new music?   Or should we just experience Jewish choral music on the concert stage?     In this international session, Choir directors from around the world offer their views.  With:   Benjamin Wolf Musical Director, Belsize Square Synagogue, UK   Alexander Tsaliuk Artistic Director, Moscow Male Jewish Choir, Russia   Ruti Worrall Choir Director, Menorah Synagogue, Cheshire, UK   Evelyn Green Musical Director, Johannesburg Jewish Male Choir, South Africa   Alan Freedman Musical Director, The London Cantorial Singers, UK   Moderator Daniel Tunkel   Recorded live on 9th June 2021 / 29th Sivvan 5781 This event was held jointly with the Cantors Assembly.
01:45:08
June 21, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 7b : Who Needs Nusach Part II
What do we mean by Nusach and wherein lies its importance?  Is this centuries-old tradition, the immutable structure for the music of prayer?  Or is the melody of the synagogue more changeable and less constant than we think?  Is it OK to use modern Israeli or Yeshivah tunes instead? Or even secular songs ?   Nusach Part II examines these issues from a North American perspective with a wholly North American panel. Is this any different from that of the Minhag Anglia communities? Are North American synagogues more or less demanding of change and are the influences and infiltrations at all different?   Should we fight against these influences or accept them as inevitable and welcome them?   Our panel was:   Cantor Hinda Eisen Labovitz Ohr Kodesh Congregation, Chevy Chase, Maryland   Charles Heller Writer and retired choirmaster, Toronto   Cantor Jacob Mendelson Eminent cantor and international performer   Cantor Gideon Zelermyer Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, Montreal   Moderator Hirsh Cashdan   This event was held jointly with the Cantors Assembly Recorded live on 2nd June 2021, 22nd Sivvan 5781
01:31:37
June 6, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 7a : Who Needs Nusach? Part I
What do we mean by Nusach and wherein lies its importance? Is this centuries-old tradition, the immutable structure for the music of prayer? Or is the melody of the synagogue more changeable and less constant than we think? Is it OK to use modern Israeli or Yeshivah tunes instead? Or even secular songs ? In Nusach Part I, we join a panel of Cantors and Rabbis from around the world inured in the British Commonwealth tradition (Minhag Anglia) to discuss this. With Cantor Asher Hainovitz, Yeshurun Synagogue, Jerusalem Rabbi Cantor Geoffrey Shisler, Teacher and Rabbi/Cantor(retired) Charles Heller, Writer and retired choirmaster Toronto Rabbi Benjy Rickman, Holy Law Synagogue, Manchester UK Moderator Hirsh Cashdan Recorded Live on 26th May 2021; Sivvan 15th 5781
01:27:28
May 30, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 6 : The Sephardi Cantor - How Similar, How Different?
In 'Voice of the Cantor' the series to date has primarily considered the cantor as the chief singer of the Ashkenazi synagogue.   But Sephardi and Oriental communities have their cantors and leaders too.    Their roles and styles are sometimes quite similar to those of the traditional Ashkenazi cantor, but often very different as well.     What are the core similarities and differences?  What can cantors (and rabbis and communities) in the two wings of Judaism learn from each other. More specifically, what are Sephardi communities doing to preserve and communicate their heritage?     Our panel included Ashkenazim who serve Sephardi communities and Sephardim who serve Ashkenazi communities, for what was a colourful cross-cultural discussion.   This session featured:  Cantor Eliot Alderman : Freelance Synagogue Musician, UK Cantor Aaron Bensoussan : Freelance Hazzan, Toronto Rabbi Jeff Berger : Wembley Sephardi Community, London, UK Hazzan Dr. Ramón Tasat : Shirat HaNefesh Cong., Maryland, US   Moderator Daniel Tunkel   Recorded Live on 12th May 2021, 1st Sivvan 5781
01:26:07
May 16, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 5 : The Carlebach Conundrum
In “The Carlebach Conundrum” we examine the issues presented by the type of music used in services in the genre of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, focusing on the phenomenon of the music, which might be described as neo-Hasidic or 'easy singing music'. Leaving aside any view as to the subjective musical merits of Carlebach’s own compositions, we simply note that the man started something, which others have continued and developed upon.     Why did this happen?   We wanted to explore the degree to which music like Carlebach’s has become the ‘new tradition’, and what this sort of music brings to a service (or what it takes away). with Cantor Asher Hainovitz, Yeshurun Synagogue, Jerusalem   Rabbi Yossi Binstock, St John’s Wood Synagogue, London   Rabbi Michael Wolk, Temple Israel, Charlotte NC, USA Cantor Yehuda Marx, Heaton Park Synagogue, Manchester UK Alex Klein Director, European Cantors Association   Moderator Russell Grossman Recorded live on 28 April 2021, 16 Iyyar 5781
01:33:04
May 3, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 4 : The Challenge Of Modern Orthodox For The Cantorate
Does the Modern Orthodox agenda leave room for the conventional cantor?   A discussion with  Michael Goldstein,  President, United Synagogue UK   Cantor / Minister Alby Chait,  United Hebrew Congregation, Leeds UK Cantor Steven Leas, Central Synagogue, London UK Rabbi Cantor Danny Bergson, St Annes Hebrew Congregation, St Annes UK Cantor Adam Caplan, Prestwich Hebrew Congregation, Manchester UK   Moderator Hirsh Cashdan   Recorded live on 14th April 2021, 2nd Iyyar 5781
01:32:44
April 19, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 3 : Passover In Pandemic
How have we adapted after a year of the modern plague? Three experienced ministers from UK orthodox communities talk with ECA's Hirsh Cashdan about the special challenges of the pandemic for their communities and how they have negotiated a second 'Passover in Pandemic'.  Recorded live on 31st March 2021.
01:30:17
April 5, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 2 : Crossing The Pond
Three experienced cantors Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky (Orthodox, NYC); Cantor Jason Green (Conservative, Ottawa); and Rabbi Cantor Gershon Silins (London), who've practised in UK and North America discuss, if the nusach's the same and the music's similar, what's different for them and their congregations working either side of the Atlantic?  In conversation with ECA's Russell Grossman
01:23:46
March 21, 2021
Voice of the Cantor - Episode 1 : Dudu Fisher 'Never On A Friday'
As a curtain-raiser for European Cantors Association's innovative programme Voice of the Cantor, we presented internationally renowned cantor and star of the musical theatre, Dudu Fisher, in conversation with the ECA’s Director Alex Klein, exploring his amazing trajectory and how he has managed to balance a career on the bimah and the stage. This event was held in conjunction with the Cantors Assembly and recorded live on Wednesday March 3rd 2021. 
01:09:05
March 7, 2021