Max Wohlberg

Hungarian-born liturgical scholar, composer and cantor

Hungarian-born liturgical scholar, composer and cantor. Max Wohlberg was born in Humenné (today Slovakia). He immigrated to the U.S. in 1923, where he sang in the Metropolitan Opera choir and held several positions as a cantor. From 1952 until his death, he served as Professor of Liturgy at the Cantorial School of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (now the H.L. Miller Cantorial School). As a composer, Wholberg wrote primarily modern melodies to accompany liturgical texts. During his lifetime, he assembled an impressive collection of more than 2,000 manuscripts, books, and song sheets, which were donated to Jewish Theological Seminary in 1977. 

A detailed inventory of this collection (prepared by Elliot Kahn) can be found here. This webpage includes an important bibliographical note by one of Wohlberg’s foremost students, the composer Charles Davidson, who also wrote his dissertation on Wohlberg.


Davidson, Charles S. The Living Legacy of an American Hazzan: Max Wohlberg, His Life and Works. New York, 1988.

Kahn, Eliot. "An Inventory of the Max Wohlberg Collection Ebook."

Robert McG. Thomas Jr., Max Wohlberg, Obituary. New York Times.

Zimmerman, Akiva, and Raymond Goldstein. "Wohlberg, Moshe." Encyclopaedia Judaica.