Director of H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music, Senior Lecturer of Hazzanut
Department: Jewish Music, Jewish Education, H. L. Miller Cantorial School, College of Jewish Music
Phone: (212) 678-8036
Building Room: Brush 503
Office Hours: By Appointment
BA, Columbia University; BHL, The Jewish Theological Seminary; MA, Teachers College, Columbia University
Cantor Nancy Abramson is director of 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. Cantor Abramson is past president of the Cantors Assembly, the largest body of hazzanim in the world, and now serves on the board of the C.A. foundation. She previously served as two-time national convention co-chair of the the organization, and was its the first female officer.
Cantor Abramson has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and sung with the Rinat Choir in Israel under the baton of Zubin Mehta. She currently teaches the weekly Nusah Beit Shira seminar and coordinates the Mifgash. Cantor Abramson created 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 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. 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, respectively. She received her cantorial education at JTS, and earned a master’s degree in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.