The Jewish Theological Seminary’s H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music Announces New Director—and New Direction

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089

April 27, 2011, New York, NY

The H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new director, Hazzan Nancy Abramson. The appointment signals a major reimagining of the school’s curriculum and purpose as recommended by the Task Force on the Future of the H. L. Miller Cantorial School issued in January 2011.

As the report noted, imaginative and innovative use of music—both in performance and as an educational tool—is a powerful means of leading Jews toward a path of Jewish commitment and crucial to the reinvigoration of the American synagogue. The far-reaching changes recommended by the task force, adopted by the JTS administration and to be implemented under the direction of Cantor Abramson, are designed to help achieve that goal.

Cantor Abramson comes to JTS from New York City's Park Avenue Synagogue, where she was cantor for 14 years. Previously, she was cantor for five years at Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and cantor for 12 years at West End Synagogue in Manhattan. She is a graduate of the Dual Degree program of JTS's Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies and Columbia University, from which she earned a BA in Music and a BHL in Jewish History, and received her cantorial education at JTS. She earned a master's degree in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Cantor Abramson is senior vice president of the Cantors Assembly, the first woman to hold any office in that organization. She is on the board of the Zamir Choral Foundation, and is a member of the Women Cantors Network. She has also taught at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School, where she coordinated the tefillah and bar/bat mitzvah programs. Cantor Abramson has performed at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fischer Hall, and sung with the Rinat Choir in Israel.

“I am excited and pleased that Cantor Nancy Abramson has agreed to be the director of the H. L. Miller School,” says JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen. “She brings invaluable experience, talent, ideas, and skill to the task of revitalizing the preparation of cantors at JTS. I look forward to working with her.”

Cantor Abramson looks forward to being back at JTS and to “shaping cantorial education at JTS to fit the 21st century. With my lifelong background in the Conservative Movement, my strength as a consensus builder, and my experience in effecting Jewish change within a framework of tradition, I believe I am positioned for success in this exciting opportunity.”

The H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music has an enviable record of success in the education of cantors and musical experts. Under Cantor Abramson’s visionary leadership, JTS’s cantorial school will expand its purview and develop the school not only to train cantors for the future, but also to undertake more comprehensive instruction in the arts and practices of music and worship.

“I am thrilled that we have attracted one of the outstanding cantors of our time to come back to JTS and train the next generation of hazzanim,” says Rabbi Daniel Nevins, Pearl Resnick Dean of The Rabbinical School and dean of the Division of Religious Leadership of JTS. “Cantor Abramson is a master of traditional cantorial arts as well as contemporary music. She has been an outstanding educator and prayer leader, and she will enhance the entire JTS community with her knowledge, her faith, and her skill.”

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