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Arthur Wolfson

Arthur WolfsonARTHUR WOLFSON (1912 – 1977) was cantor of Temple Emanu-El from 1948 through 1977. A native of Philadelphia, Wolfson moved to New York for his appointment as cantor and quickly won the hearts of his Emanu-El family with a beautiful voice matched by an equally beautiful spirit. Shortly after his arrival at Emanu-El, Cantor Wolfson assumed the position of music director; in 1974 he took on the additional responsibility of serving as education director of the Temple’s Religious School. While at Emanu-El, Wolfson introduced many innovations in liturgical music and assisted in commissioning several musical compositions by composers of the day. He also instituted an active program of concerts, organ recitals and other musical events.

Wolfson was a graduate of Temple University and the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. His credits include serving as president of the American Conference of Cantors, the Jewish Music Forum and the Jewish Liturgical Music Society. He was chairman of the national music council of the Jewish Welfare Board and was a member of the executive board of the Jewish Book Council. He also was active in the American Musicological Society and the Schola Musicae Lituricae.

Wolfson was not only a cantor but also a teacher of cantors. From 1950 until the time of his death, he was a member of the faculty of the HUC-JIR School of Sacred Music and served as chairman of the faculty from 1972 to 1974. He also was a visiting lecturer at Union Theological Seminary. Cantor Wolfson’s voice was heard not only at Temple Emanu-El but also in concert halls throughout the East Coast as a performer of Jewish liturgical music.

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