Erik Contzius | Teach My Lips a Blessing

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Teach My Lips a Blessing

by Erik Contzius

Organ, choir, and cantor come together to make beautiful mixture of contemporary and traditional Jewish music, featuring Cantor Erik Contzius, the Amor Artis Chamber Choir of New York City, and organist Christopher Creaghan.
Genre: Spiritual: Judaica
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hineih Mah Tov
4:05 $0.99
2. Y'did Nefesh
2:52 $0.99
3. Mi Khamokha
2:11 $0.99
4. V'sham'ru
3:34 $0.99
5. T'fillah
5:49 $0.99
6. Yism'khu
2:43 $0.99
7. Eloheinu... R'tzei
2:31 $0.99
8. Shalom Rav
3:15 $0.99
9. Yih'yu L'ratzon
1:19 $0.99
10. Mi Shebeirakh
3:31 $0.99
11. Candle Blessing for Kol Nidrei
1:01 $0.99
12. Y'varekh'kha
1:35 $0.99
13. Ya'aleh V'yavo
2:04 $0.99
14. And Hannah Prayed
3:57 $0.99
15. The Travelers' Prayer
4:26 $0.99
16. Our Task
3:46 $0.99
17. Psalm 23
4:38 $0.99
18. Psalm 150
2:58 $0.99
19. Lamdeini Elohai
2:23 $0.99
20. Ein Keloheinu
2:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
TEMPLE ISRAEL OF NEW ROCHELLE (established in 1908) has enjoyed a century of serving the Reform Jewish community of New Rochelle and the greater Westchester County. Our synagogue takes great pride in its past musical traditions including a Men’s Glee Club and a Sisterhood choir. We create new traditions today through our choirs, both professional and volunteer, our organist, an annual “Azkara Service” for the Holy Days with dramatic musical settings and narrations, an annual “Temple Follies,” and a youth choir on the pulpit on a regular basis. There are so many ways that music is an integral part of the identity of our synagogue family.

Temple Israel of New Rochelle has a rich history of cantors. As a cantorial student in 1951, Cantor Harold Orbach was the first to hold the role. Since that time, Cantors Sumner Crockett, Helene Reps, and Alaine Katzew have served the Temple well. As the present Cantor of Temple Israel of New Rochelle, I am in the position of upholding a legacy of very talented and well-respected colleagues.

This recording was made to share my personal musical vision for the synagogue. I am privileged to work for a congregation that is receptive to the music I write and where my music is used in prayer on a regular basis. It gives me joy when we raise our voices together to give glory to the Divine.

I believe music is an offering we have as Jews to give up to the Divine. It is a source of inspiration, celebration, and devotion. The core essence of prayer is to reach deep within, and to strive to reach beyond. Music has this power.

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.

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 music also appears on several recordings, including 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 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.

Cantor Contzius has performed in many distinguished solo presentations around the world, the most recent being his performance in Münich, Germany where he was invited to perform in a concert entitled: "Vergessene Musik—The Forgotten Music of the German Jewish Reform Movement." 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.



to write a review

mark shainker

teach my lips a blessing
A wonderful collection of beautiful music, great voices, superb melodies. Very moving. You will not get tired of it.

Ross Wolman

A New Classic!
Cantor Erik Contzius has captured the flavor and richness of our musical heritage. His music is wonderful and a real treat for the Jewish communities of today.

Rabbi Alijak Chafichols

This CD is full of heartwarming, exciting and spiritual compositions. Some songs moved me to tears, while others brought me great joy. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. All who hear this CD are blessed.

Barbara Ostfeld

Incredibly Moving!
I was struck by so many of the fragments that I knew I needed the whole CD. I couldn't be more delighted with it. The range of texts the boldness of the interpretations and the beauty of the renditions are all helping to point the way forward for recordings of Jewish liturgical music.

Valerie Coates

A Blessing for Everyone
From the beautifully haunting melody of V'sham'ru to the lively Ein Keloheinu, Cantor Contzius captures the essence of the liturgical texts. "Teach My Lips a Blessing" contains a well balanced variety of inspirational choral and solo compositions. You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy it!

Judy Ginsburgh

Glorious new music for the cantorate
Bravo, Erik, on this beautiful collection of new cantorial music. The production is first class with fine attention given to details and environmentally friendly packaging. How exciting it is to have this much new music of substance to add to our repertoire and share with our congregations.

Cantor Ilene Keys

Bold and Tender
What a collection of innovative melodies both traditional in style and eclectic. From the tender moment of the Hinei Mah Tov to the freilach sounds of the Yism'chu! This album has something for everyone and will keep you listening time and time again. Thank you for your contribution to our glorious canon of Jewish liturgical music.