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Israel Alter

Israel AlterISRAEL ALTER (1901 – 1979) was born in Lvov, Ukraine. A powerful tenor, Cantor Alter studied music in Vienna and began his career as a cantor at the age of 20. He moved on to Hanover, Germany, for a decade before becoming the chief chazan in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In 1961, Cantor Alter moved to the United States and became a faculty member at the School of Sacred Music of the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. He was responsible for notating, between 1966 and 1971, the complete musical settings for the Sabbath, festivals and Holy Days that were published by the Cantors Assembly. He considered this achievement the fulfillment of a 50-year-old promise to make the notes of chazanut available to young and talented cantorial aspirants, who prior to the advent of the tape recorder had little access to the improvisational art of the chazan.

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