DANTO, LOUIS (1929– ), ḥazzan. Danto was born in Suwalki, Poland, and sang in synagogue choirs there as a child, appearing with the ḥazzanim Steinberg and Berman. He spent wwii in Russia and studied voice development and cello at the Minsk conservatory. He also studied at music conservatories in Lodz, Poland, and in Italy, where his teachers included Beniamino Gigli and Tito Schipa. Danto specialized in bel canto and as such his voice is known for its rare beauty, purity, and breathtaking emotional expressivity. He immigrated to the United States and studied ḥazzanut under Leo Loeb and Herman Zalitz. After serving with a number of congregations in the United States, he became ḥazzan of the Toronto, Canada synagogue Beth Emeth–Bais Yehudah. He gave concerts of classical music and ḥazzanut throughout the United States and in Europe, South Africa, and Israel. Danto visited the Soviet Union and sang in the Great Synagogue of Moscow. In 1998, Danto received an honorary doctorate in music from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He has made 21 recordings of ḥazzanut, Yiddish songs, and classical vocal pieces. Numerous contemporary composers have written for and dedicated their works to Louis Danto. In addition, he is a researcher and a champion of rare and unusual repertoire. Most of his current recordings are available though Cadenza Records.
[Akiva Zimmerman /
Raymond Goldstein (2nd ed.)]