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Welcome to the website of the European Cantors Association
Patrons: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis; Cantor Naftali Herstik, Cantor Joseph Malovany, Cantor Asher Hainovitz

Our 15th Cantors Convention is in Hannover from 6 - 11 November 2023

A gathering for all those who love the music of Jewish prayer. Theme: Togetherness

The next ECA Convention takes place in the beautiful Villa Seligmann in Hannover from the evening of Monday 6th November 2023 to late night on Motzei Shabbat 11th November, after the Gala concert.

We have as usual outstanding presenters and a full programme with very special and historical firsts. There will be opportunities to sing, entertain us all and to take an active part in the programme.

As well as the packed programme, filled with our renowned presentations, panel discussions, masterclasses and creative choral workshops, we will be joining with the Jewish Community of Lower Saxony on Thursday 8th November, to commemorate, the 85th anniversary of what they now recognise in Germany as the terrible Reichspogromnacht or the November Pogrom (Kristallnacht).

In an historic event, our Cantor Asher Hainovitz will relate his family’s Holocaust story in the Parliament Chamber of Lower Saxony and we will sing appropriate Tehillim.

We will also be present the same day when students acknowledge the atrocity at the site of The Great Synagogue which went up in flames.  And our convention has been invited to give the first Jewish concert at the University City of Lüneburg.

Convention starts on Monday evening 6th November at 5.30pm, with dinner and a tour of our venue – the beautiful historic Villa Seligmann and singing to each other. All day Tuesday and Wednesday, and Friday morning will be packed with convention programmes. 

Our legendary music-filled Shabbat in the Hannover Orthodox Synagogue will feature cantors from around the world. On Saturday night there will be a Gala Concert with a VIP reception to follow.

All the delicious meals will of course be strictly kosher and are included in your registration.

An optional visit to Bergen Belsen has been arranged for Sunday morning 11th November; the coach will drop at the airport by 12.30pm those who need to be there in time for afternoon flights.

Further details, including the registration form and where to direct enquiries are here.

After our very successful Budapest Convention, which has been nominated for The Hungarian Tourist Event of the Year Award, we are looking forward to bringing you our next offering.

We would like to know as soon as possible if you will be attending in order to accommodate those who want to take part. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in Hannover in November.

A review of our 14th Convention, in Budapest in November 2022, is here.
We continue to upload the sessions from the 14th Convention on our YouTube channel.

‘From Our Lips …’ celebrating synagogue music

Group Of Male CantorsFemale Cantors Group

What stirs congregants to prayer these days? To what modes and tunes does a community emotionally respond? What ‘boots people up’ for the Sabbath or the Festivals these days and draws them to shul? ECA and associates are providing the opportunity for synagogues to ‘show and tell’ what works for them.

All synagogues are invited to participate in From Our Lips …’ A Festival of Synagogue Music from 14 January to 14 April 2024, by putting their name down for a particular Shabbat, weekday or any other service (or a concert of synagogue music) between Sunday 14 January and Sunday 14 April 2024.

This nationwide festival is for all kinds and sizes of synagogues, whether tiny, small, medium or large, across the spectrum of Jewish worship. Jewish prayer is always sung – and this is the chance for communities to share their congregation’s particular tastes and preferences and their musical tradition.

It does not matter whether this is driven by a professional or a lay member, or if there is a choir, or simply by the members of the congregation singing together. We want to hear whatever moves your congregation for your chosen festival service.

Read more about this project. To participate in the festival email festival@cantors.eu

Chazanim Encylopaedia - New Edition Published

A new edition of the Jolles Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Cantors, Chazanim, Ministers and Synagogue Musicians, their history and culture was published on 30th July 2023.

This is an expanded version from the previous 2021 edition. To get a copy (there is no charge, but a donation to the European Cantors Association would always be welcome) please email DownloadJollesEncyclopaedia@cantors.eu and request the link for searchable pdf to be sent to you.

Selichot - Recordings Of The Late Hazzan Robert Kieval
(1946 - 2022)

This coming Moztei Shabbat, 9th September, is the first night of Selichot for Ashkenazi communities (Sephardim started at the beginning of Ellul). Across the world, not least in London, there is a good range of choral Selichot to attend with some world class Chazonim and Cantors.

Below we include links to a live Selichot service from 1986 from B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville Maryland. The cantor is the late Hazzan Robert Kieval (1946 - 2022) with the B’nai Israel professional choir under the direction of Robert's wife, Gayna, herself at most times the soprano soloist heard. The Rabbi is Matthew Simon then the senior Rabbi.

Gayna suggested we share this for interest, and to remember the late Hazzan Kieval. All of his audio library is now in the UCLA music archives. If you are interested in finding out more, contact mrussell@schoolofmusic.ucla.edu      

01 Track 01.mp3 Rabbi 02 Track 02.mp3 Ashrei
03 Track 03.mp3 Kaddish 04 Track 04.mp3 Rabbi
05 Track 05.mp3 L'chu N'ran'na 06 Track 06.mp3 S'lach lanu Avinu Ki b'rov
07 Track 07.mp3 Nusach S'lach 08 Track 08.mp3 Nusach El Melech
09 Track 09.mp3 Nusach S'lach 10 Track 10.mp3 B'motzei M'nucha ( Verses )
11 Track 11.mp3 B'motzei ( cont. ) 12 Track 12.mp3 Havienu Sh'ma Koleinu
13 Track 13.mp3 Ashamnu/Sarnu 14 Track 14.mp3 Shomeir Yisrael/ Mitratze B'rachamim

Composing Synagogue Music for the 21st Century :
The Music of Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler

The recording of this programme, broadcast live on 27th June 2023, is here

Remembering Rabbi Cantor Michael Plaskow MBE

Rabbi Cantor Michael Plaskow MBE wasEmeritus Chazan of London's Woodside Park Synagogue, London and City of London Freeman.

He was a great and distinguished chazan, mohel and leader in both the Jewish and wider communities, later taking Semicha. He was at Woodside Park Synagogue for an amazing 43 years and a practising Mohel for 33 years, initiating some 16,000 babies.

Michael was one of our stars in November 2021 in our 'Voice of the Cantor' series when he was interviewed by ECA Director, Alex Klein. You can see that interview here on our YouTube Channel and listen here to the podcast version.

Why Do We Mumble Our Prayers?

David Aaronovitch in his UK Jewish Chronicle article of 15 December 2022 asks
‘why do we mumble our prayers?’   

ECA Exec, Geraldine Auerbach, argues there has been no recognised or endorsed training for orthodox prayer leaders in the UK for decades; nor is there an agreed standard to attain. And even if there was a standard, she argues, there is virtually no hope of employment as a prayer-leader.

Read more of this here.
ECA's suggestion to UK United Synagogue to remedy the situation: "From Our Lips...".

Check out and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for a reprise on all our activity,
including the 21 programmes of 'Voice of the Cantor' published in 2020 - 2022.

Clips from our 14th Cantors Convention are also posted there.

Our Facebook; Twitter and Instagram pages are also regularly updated.


Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks' extolling value of Jewish Music

- reprised

We have republished a video featuring late Chief Rabbi of the UK and the Commonwealth, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks extolling the virtues of Jewish Music at the 25th Anniversary of the Jewish Music Institute in 2010.

The video is here.

"To me music is the most spiritual form of expression that exists Music was absolutely essential to Jewish spirituality" he says. "Words are the language of the mind – but music is the language of the soul".

He talks about nusach : "...you know exactly when and what kind of literature you are listening to, simply from listening to the music When we move from the secular to the spiritual – words take wings through music".

"How do we make Judaism live for a new generation – that answer is, we have to make it sing. If it has no music, no emotional contact, if there is no music – you can’t hand it on."

Additional Resources:


Links to other cantorial-related sites

Shuls With A Cantor In The United Kingdom
(please advise of any changes)

Layaning in English

To Download the Jolles Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Cantors, Chazanim, Ministers and Synagogue Musicians, their history and culture email DownloadJollesEncyclopaedia@cantors.eu and request the link for searchable pdf to be sent to you.

About ECA:

ECA is an independent organisation, based on orthodox tradition and convention but open to all who are interested in the music of the synagogue and the role and art of the cantor.

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ECA was officially launched on 2 July 2012 at the 7th Annual European Cantors' Convention Manchester UK 2 - 5 July 2012,
by Cantor Joseph Malovany of the 5th Avenue Synagogue New York.

Cantor Malovany is also Professor of Liturgical Music at Yeshiva University and co-Director of the Moscow Academy for Liturgical Music.

Last Updated 10th September 2023