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Erik Contzius

Demonstrating deep love and commitment toward his field of endeavor, Cantor Erik Contzius’ unique sounds beautifully reflect his relationship with the Divine, which is clearly evident in his pulpit presence and original compositions. And while his passion for music ranges from Hazzanut (cantorial art music) to Yiddish folk songs, as well as Opera and Broadway melodies, Cantor Contzius is most at home on the pulpit leading prayer.

Cantor Contzius presently serves as the Cantor of Temple Israel of New Rochelle, and has served as Cantor at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and Temple Israel of Omaha, Nebraska. He has also served as Composer-in-Residence at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester.

Directing all musical liturgies for synagogue worship, Cantor Contzius has composed original works for the synagogue, namely Hineh Ma Tov and Shalom Rav, which have been published by Transcontinental Music Publications, as well as a large self-published catalogue. His composition, And Hannah Prayed, was recently selected to be performed in The Third International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music sponsored by Shalshelet.

His compositions and voice also appear on several recordings, including Teach My Lips a Blessing: The Music of Erik Contzius, recorded with the Amor Artis Chamber Choir, and a solo collection of Jewish art music for both cantor and pipe organ interpretations entitled How Excellent is Thy Name. He has appeared as a soloist on the recording Celebrate Chanukah with the Westminster Choir College’s Youth Chorale.

Cantor Contzius has performed in many distinguished solo presentations, most recently appearing with the Songs of Life festival performing Ernest Bloch’s Sacred Service in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria and Petah Tikva and Jerusalem, Israel under the baton of Dian Tchobanev. He has performed with the Westchester Chorale under the baton of Maestro Daniel Paget in Handel’s Israel in Egypt. He has presented internationally, performing in a concert entitled “Vergessene Musik—The Forgotten Music of the German Jewish Reform Movement” in Münich, Germany. He has been heard at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City two years consecutively, performing in their Jewish Vienna and Germany concerts. Cantor Contzius also appeared on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., performing as a soloist in a special concert titled Let Freedom Sing. He was invited to perform at the International Organ Festival of Göteborg, Sweden where he led services at the Great Synagogue of Göteborg. His vocal training is ongoing, having studied with Tom Lomonaco, Carlos Serrano, David Adams, and presently with Dr. Donald Roberts.

Raised in Parsippany, New Jersey, Cantor Contzius received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Rutgers College and then went on to study abroad at the University of York, England. He received his Master of Sacred Music degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music, studying in Israel and New York City. He resides in New Rochelle, New York with his lovely wife Monica and his son Jacob.

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