Cantor Nancy Abramson is director of the H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music of The Jewish Theological Seminary. She trains future hazzanim in prayer, nusah (the sacred music of prayer), and religious leadership, and oversees their expanded development in Jewish education and teaching, pastoral care, and modern Israel. She is helping JTS shape cantorial arts and practices for the 21st century. Having served as senior vice president and two-time national convention co-chair of the Cantors Assembly-the largest body of hazzanim in the world-Cantor Abramson is now president of the organization, the first female officer in the Cantors Assembly's 66-year history.
Cantor Abramson, who performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, and the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and sang with the Rinat Choir in Israel under the baton of Zubin Mehta, teaches the weekly H. L. Miller Cantorial School Senior Seminar and the graduate course Leading Communities in Prayer and Song. In 2012-2013, she organized a five-concert series under the aegis of the JTS Arts Advisory Board, two with the renowned Juilliard School of Music (JTS Presents: An Evening of Juilliard Vocal and Chamber Music and JTS Presents The Juilliard Jazz Ensemble: The Jewish-African American Jazz Experience). The series also included the New York premiere of Eight Days of Chanukah by composer Abraham Kaplan at the "We Are Lights: Music for Chanukah" concert, and a semi-staged performance of the new opera Steal a Pencil for Me by Cantor Gerald Cohen, JTS adjunct assistant professor of Music.
A prominent figure in the cantorate, Cantor Abramson came to JTS from New York City's Park Avenue Synagogue, where she directed all musical aspects of congregational life and developed curricula for b'nai mitzvah. She was previously cantor at Congregation Sons of Israel in Briarcliff Manor, New York, where she developed an innovative curriculum for teaching musical tropes, and for 12 years she served at West End Synagogue in Manhattan as founding cantor and organizer of the congregation's Hebrew school. She also taught at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York, coordinating the tefillah and bar/bat mitzvah programs. Currently, Cantor Abramson sits on the board of the Zamir Choral Foundation and the Magic Circle Opera Repertory Ensemble. She is a past board member of the Women Cantors Network.
Cantor Abramson is a graduate of the Joint Program between the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies of JTS and Columbia University, from which she earned a BHL in Jewish History and a BA in Music. She received her cantorial education at JTS, and earned a master's degree in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
A lifelong Conservative Jew, Cantor Abramson grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she sang in the choirs of her synagogue from the age of eight, under the direction of Max Janowski, a giant in American Jewish composition. She attended Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, travelled on the Ramah Israel Seminar, and served as music specialist at several Ramah camps. Today, she is married to Mitch Glenn, and together they have three children and one grandson.