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Gershon Ephros

Gershon EphrosGERSHON EPHROS (1890 – 1978) was born in Serotsk, Poland, and was raised with his stepfather, Cantor Moses Fromberg. He received his first musical training and experience by singing in Fromberg’s choir. By the age of 17, Ephros was conducting his own choir.

In 1909, Ephros left Poland for Palestine and pursued studies in chazanut and harmony with Abraham Zvi Idelsohn, whom he served as choir director. Two years later, he emigrated to the United States, where he continued his musical studies with Herman Spielter and Joseph Achron in New York.

Ephros received his first cantorial appointment in 1918 to Congregation Beth-El in Norfolk, Virginia. He went on to serve Congregation Beth Elohim in New York and ultimately Congregation Beth Mordecai of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where he officiated for 30 years until his retirement in 1957. In addition, Ephros taught Jewish music in Hebrew schools and served as a member of the faculty of the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music.

As a composer, Ephros produced numerous liturgical works as well as secular pieces for solo voice and choir, keyboard, string quartet and other instrumental combinations. But, he is best known for his Cantorial Anthology, a multi-volume collection of synagogue compositions for cantor and choir for the entire yearly cycle that previously had been unavailable to most or not in print — the first collection of its kind in Jewish music.

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