Cantor

Joshua Weisser (Pilderwasser)

Cantor & composer

Joshua Samuel Weisser (Pilderwasser) was born in 1888 in Novaya Ushitsa, Ukraine. As a child, Weisser was exposed to the tradition of Hassidic melodies and Hebrew zemirot through his father Aba Pilderwasser. Weisser began his formal musical education with the local hazzan of Novata Ushitsa, who taught him solfege and sight singing. He participated in many local synagogue choirs, studying under notable chazzanim such as Eliezer Gerovich.

1888-1952

Gershon Sirota

Cantor

Gershon Sirota was born in 1874 in Podolia, where his father officiated as the village cantor. As a boy, Sirota frequently assisted his father in leading services at the local synagogue. At the age of 13, Sirota went to visit his grandparents in Odessa and was hired to lead services at the local Bet Hamedrash (small house of prayer), where his grandfather was a member. The board of trustees, and other music professionals in attendance, were taken aback by the young boy’s talent.

1874-1943

Bezalel Shulsinger

Cantor

Born in Uman, also know as 'Bezalel Odesser.' Served as cantor in Odessa for about thirty-five years, later moving to Jerusalem. His compositions (notated by his students) achieved great popularity and had a strong influence on synagogue music.

1779-1873

Myer Leoni

English cantor

Myer Leoni began his musical career as an opera singer in England. In 1767 he took a position as cantor of the Great Synagogue in London, but continued performing in Operas, providing they didn’t conflict with his Synagogue duties.

Leoni, along with collegue Giordani, established an English Opera company in Dublin in 1783, which due to financial difficulties only ran for a short time.

d. 1796

Samuel Naumbourg

Composer, Synagogue singer, Musicologist, French Jewish reformer of synagogue music & choirmaster

Samuel Naumbourg was born in Dennelohe, Bavaria, groomed from a young age to continue the long line of professional hazzanim in his family. He received his formal musical education in Munich where he was recruited to sing in Maier Kohn’s synagogue choir.  Naumbourg’s early appointments included a cantorial post in Besançon and a position as choirmaster of the Synagogue in Strasburg.

1817-1880

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