Internationally famed Cantor Joseph Malovany from Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue will perform an assortment of songs from Broadway to Yiddish to traditional during a Sunday, Dec. 13, concert at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in North Brunswick.
Joining in the program, sponsored by the Tikvah for Israel Fund, will be the synagogue’s own cantor, Bruce Rockman, the Sons of Tikvah Band, and Cantor Sheldon Levin of Congregation Neve Shalom in Metuchen.
Cantor Anna West Ott of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick will lead the Makhelat Hamercaz chorus.
“The program will be Hebrew songs, English songs, Yiddish songs, a few popular American songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, one or two cantorial pieces — after all, I am a cantor,” said Malovany in a phone interview with NJJN. “It will be a varied program with something for everyone to appeal to different tastes of Jewish music. I gave this program a lot of thought.”
The tenor, who has served at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue since 1973, said he was looking forward to performing with the other cantors and choral group.
“I love working with local people who volunteer their time because they enjoy the music,” said Malovany, who recently returned from a concert tour of Germany and Eastern Europe. “I know for sure it will come from the heart of the people. It will be, as they say in Yiddish, a beautiful shidduch.”
Malovany, who was born in Tel Aviv and was a cantor at the Bilu Synagogue there, served as cantor of the Israeli army and as a cantor at synagogues in Johannesburg and London.
“I play all over Europe and Israel,” said Malovany, who has performed many times with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. “It goes without saying I am the one who connected religious melodies with big symphony orchestras. I orchestrate the work myself and work very closely with a couple of symphonies and conductors.”
The founder and president of the World Jewish Music Foundation, Malovany has been appointed honorary chief cantor of Riga, Latvia, and Vilnius, Lithuania, where the government has issued a special commemorative coin in his honor.
Malovany was the featured soloist in the performance of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s Oratorio “Kaddish” at the 2010 rededication of the White Stork Synagogue in Wroclaw, Poland. For many years, he has sung the memorial prayers at the Holocaust commemorations at Madison Square Garden in New York.
He has received the Cross of Merit-Commander of the Legion of Honor from the president of Poland, whose government also bestowed on Malovany its International Award for Tolerance. “I was knighted by the president of Poland because he attended a couple of my concerts and saw they created unbelievable relationships between all sections of Jews and non-Jews.
“Jewish music has been appreciated by everybody in every city in Poland, as well as in Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moscow, Vienna, Amsterdam, and South America,” he said.
Among the cantor’s other awards is a Gold Record from Yuval, an Israeli-Jewish music ensemble, for his contribution to the Jewish music and cantorial art.
Malovany serves as honorary president of the Cantorial Council of America and past chair of the Board of the American Society for Jewish Music.
“My philosophy has been to bring the highest level of Jewish music — whether it is Yiddish, Hebrew, or Jewish folk music — to the highest standards of musicality because I want to show the world our music is on a very high level,” said Malovany.