Biographies of Key Participants in the European Cantors Convention 2 - 5 July 2012
Cantor Joseph Malovany
Cantor Joseph (Yossi) Malovany has been the chazan at Manhattan's Fifth Avenue Synagogue since 1973. Born in Tel Aviv, he was enrolled early at the Bilu Synagogue and School for Cantors. By the age of seven he was a member of its choir, by 12 he became its director, and by 16 he was leading the High Holiday services. His first professional position was in Johannesburg, South Africa at age nineteen. Five years later, he became the chazan of the Edgware Synagogue in London, where he also earned a degree from the Royal Academy of Music before moving to New York. Possessing a magnificent tenor voice, he has had an illustrious career performing to critical acclaim at the world's most prestigious opera houses, concert halls and synagogues and has made many recordings. He is Honorary President of the Cantorial Council of America and Past Chairman of the Board of the American Society for Jewish Music. In 1997, he was awarded the Joseph Malovany Chair for Advanced Studies in Jewish Liturgical Music at the Belz School of Music Yeshiva University. He has dedicated himself to promoting Judaism and Jewish traditions throughout the world, particularly in Eastern Europe and Russia. To this end, he founded the World Jewish Music Foundation and helped establish the Moscow Academy of Jewish Music, which he deems the highlight of his career. He has promoted and sung in many countries with the Moscow Jewish Male Choir conducted by Alexander Tsaliuk. His tireless efforts have been recognised with several major honours, including Poland's equivalent of the knighthood from the President, and UNESCO's International Award for Tolerance. He was also the first person in 125 years to be awarded with a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Yeshiva University.
Cantor Aaron Bensoussan
Aaron Bensoussan comes from an illustrious family in the history of Moroccan Sephardi Jewry He was born in Mogador (now Essaouira) and began learning liturgical modes and melodies of piyyutim (liturgical poems) from his father. At a young age he learned to play the oud (an Arabic lute). He came to the United States in 1968 and studied at several prestigious Talmudic Academies of the orthodox world in America with the initial aim of becoming a Rabbi. He soon developed a fascination for Ashkenazi chazanut. He decided to change course and pursue cantorial studies with such great masters as David Koussevitzky and Max Wohlberg. He received his ordination 1986. During his Ashkenazi chazanut studies he was persuaded to record for posterity the intricate modalities, patterns, and tunes of his family's Sephardi traditions. Bensoussan is thus a unique phenomenon among today's cantors-equally versed in both traditions. Bensoussan has served several important pulpits and been guest cantor in the USA Canada South America, Australia, Israel and the Eastern Block. He has made several recordings and participated in prestigious concerts all over the world, including the Mann Auditorium in Israel celebrating Moshe Koussevitzky's centenary and at Bevis Marks Synagogue in London to celebrate its 300th anniversary. For the past 12 years Cantor Bensoussan has composed music both for the synagogue and the world music stage, He draws on his expertise in both the Ashkenazic and Sephardic styles to masterfully weave his unique compositions including his L'cha Dodi which is sung in synagogues all over the world.
Cantor Yechezkel Klang
Cantor Yechezkel Klang was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY in a harmonious musical setting. His father Rabbi Eliyahu Klang is a chazan and composer of note, and strains of Modzits and Rosenblatt were the musical background of his childhood. After serving as chazan on the High Holidays for over two decades, Yechezkel began appearing on the cantorial concert stage, while completing his studies of chazanut and music with Cantor Naftali Herstik at the Tel-Aviv Cantorial Institute, and some of the foremost teachers of our time: Cantors Noach Schall, Mordechai Sobol and Maestro Eli Jaffe. Immediately recognized as an unusual talent and voice of rare quality, Yechezkel has performed at concerts of Jewish liturgical music around the globe, delivering stirring performances with a dazzling repertoire of cantorial music, Jewish folk songs, opera arias, and Chassidic melodies. Chazan Klang's forte, however, remains at the synagogue pulpit. Skillfully combining traditional nusach and Chasidic melodies with musical versatility, he creates a prayer atmosphere reminiscent of the cantors of old. Yechezkel's song is always genuine and heartfelt. His rich lyric tenor and precise coloratura are convincing in their sincerity, and bring out the soul of the music. Yechezkel Klang teaches cantorial arts and vocal technique at the Petach Tikva Cantorial School
and privately at his Jerusalem studio.
Alexander Tsaliuk PhD Artistic Director Moscow Male Jewish Choir 'Hassidic Capella'
Graduate cum laude of the Moscow Conservatory with a Master's degree in choral conducting, Alexander Tsaliuk is the Artistic Director and conductor of the outstanding Moscow Male Jewish Choir 'Hassidic Capella' which he co-founded in 1989 at the Moscow Academy of Cantorial Art. The ensemble has appeared in hundreds of programmes of Jewish liturgical music, Jewish and Russian folk music, and classical music in prestigious halls in Russia and the West. Under the leadership of Tsaliuk the choir performed for the Danish and Norwegian royal families for the anniversary of the Danish king saving Jews during the Second World War. The Moscow Male Jewish Choir won the first prize at the International Competition of Folklore Choral Collectives in Moscow in 1996 and was the laureate of the Zimriya Festival in Israel. They have performed with orchestras and famous cantors such as Misha Alexandrovich, Benjamin Miller and especially Joseph Malovany in Russia, Germany, Israel and the USA. He also conducts other prestigious ensembles such as Moscow Oratorio, the diplomatic corps choir at the American Embassy in Moscow. His PhD thesis was on the historical development of Jewish liturgical music.
Convenor Elect of the European Cantors' Association, Alex Klein has a passion for chazanut and has worked effectively over the last 40 years in his home city of Manchester to bring it to the attention of as many people as possible through concerts and radio programmes. He was appointed Convenor of the Cantorial Branch of the JMI Synagogue Music Section in 2011 and organised a very successful JMI European Cantors Convention in Manchester preceded by a Gala concert and followed by a special musical Shabbat featuring guest cantors Yaakov Motzen and Sol Zim. At the convention, Alex was presented with a special certificate by JMI for his untiring work in the field. He has many cantorial friends and associates around the world. He established the Julian Klein Memorial Scholarship for training cantors at the Tel Aviv Cantors Institute and several have already taken part in courses there. He hopes that the European Cantors' Association will continue to build on the fruitful foundations created by the Jewish Music Institute Synagogue Music Section under its consultant Stephen Glass and previous convention convenor Hirsh Cashdan. ECA will continue to make the cantorial art relevant and enjoyable to a new generation in the 21st century.
Updated 12 July, 2012