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UPDATED TIME CBS Zoom@Noon: Hazzan-in-Residence David Krohn in conversation with Cantor Meir Finkelstein

Tuesday, December 29, 2020 14 Tevet 5781

11:30 AM - 12:30 PMon Zoom

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Join Hazzan-in-Residence David Krohn for an intimate conversation with Cantor Meir Finkelstein, exploring his celebrated career, background, and music.

Together, we will listen to recordings from his early days as a child cantor in Scotland to his current status as one of America’s most influential cantors and composers of Jewish music.


About Cantor Meir Finkelstein, Congregation Beth Yeshurun
Cantor Meir Finkelstein was born in Israel, the son of the late Cantor Zvi Finkelstein. The family emigrated to England, when Zvi accepted a cantorial position in London. Cantor Finkelstein showed outstanding musical abilities, and at an early age began accompanying his father and older brother, Aryeh, at services. The boys and their father recorded two albums of original liturgical music, which were released in the USA under the Mercury label. At the tender age of 14, Finkelstein became the youngest cantor in Europe when he accepted a post at a synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland. At 18, Cantor Finkelstein became Cantor at London’s prestigious Golders Green Synagogue. During this time, he also attended the Royal College of Music on a scholarship, graduating with top honors in Singing, Piano and Composition. In 1974, Finkelstein emigrated to Wilmette, Illinois, when Beth Hillel Congregation discovered his musical talent and engaged him as their cantor.

In 1982 Finkelstein became Cantor of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California, which he served for 18 years. During this time, he also enjoyed a successful career as a Hollywood composer/arranger. Cantor Finkelstein scored numerous television shows including episodes of "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest" as well as many TV movies of the week. He collaborated with Steven Spielberg, composing music for the Visual History Foundation’s award-winning documentary, "Survivors of the Holocaust" for which he was nominated for a Cable Ace Award.

Cantor Finkelstein is one of the best-documented composers of contemporary Jewish music. He has composed over 150 settings for the liturgy, and his compositions are sung all over the world, his most famous settings being "L’Dor Vador" and "V'al Kulam". On November 6, 2010, the American Conference of Cantors performed his "Modim / V'al Kulam" compositions in Rome, Italy in front of Pope Benedict. In 1987, he composed a Jewish Requiem, "Nishmat Tzedek," which has been performed in various cities throughout the United States. Three years later, he premiered his large-scale cantata "Liberation" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California. Written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, it featured the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, many well-known soloists, and the entire evening’s performance was hosted by Billy Crystal.

After the live performance, Cantor Finkelstein recorded a CD of 'Liberation' with the Israel Philharmonic. More recently, he performed the work with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yoel Levy. In 2007, he debuted his Passover Seder rock musical, "Matzah Do About Nothing." He also composed a new cantata featuring both Jewish and gospel choirs entitled, "I Won’t Forget You O Jerusalem." Over the years, his colleagues have commissioned Meir to compose many original compositions. Additionally, he has produced and arranged numerous recordings for them.

Cantor Finkelstein possesses a beautiful lyric tenor voice, and has taught and mentored many young cantors. He is also an authority on the History of Jewish Liturgy, and he has lectured as a Scholar in Residence at synagogues throughout the country. Cantor Finkelstein believes in physical fitness and healthy eating, and when not working out he enjoys a good game of golf. He was cantor at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Michigan for eight years. Cantor Finkelstein is married to Monica and they have two children, Noah and Emily.

About David Krohn, Congregation Brith Shalom Hazzan in Residence
David Krohn was trained as a Cantor by his late father Rabbi Philip S. Krohn, of blessed memory, who helped shape the curriculum still used today by the Cantor’s Assembly and School of Sacred Music. Raised in a Rabbinic home in Portsmouth, Virginia, David grew up to Yiddish bedtime stories by Shalom Aleichem and an endless supply of Sidor Belarsky and Moishe Oysher recordings.

After obtaining a master’s degree from Juilliard, his Cantorial engagements brought him to some of the most prominent synagogues in the United States for High Holiday and Shabbat services. David has enjoyed solo engagements with the New York Philharmonic, debuts on stages in over forty opera roles with leading opera companies throughout the world, and solo performances in all four theaters of Carnegie Hall.

In addition to his Cantorial and operatic work, in 2005 David began a series of successful Yiddish and Hebrew concerts, continuing his father’s legacy by sharing Jewish music with audiences across the United States. His recent concert of Yiddish Music sold out the ERJCC Kaplan Theater and has led to many subsequent appearances in our Houston community.

David is a proud member of Congregation Brith Shalom, member of the Board of Directors for TORCH (Torah Outreach Resource Center of Houston), and Associate Director of Development for Houston Grand Opera. He is proud to come from a long line of distinguished Rabbis, dating back to Tosafot Yom Tov.

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Wed, January 27 2021 14 Shevat 5781