Shmuel Barzilai

Chief Cantor of Vienna's Jewish Community

Shmuel Barzilai was born in Jerusalem in a family of renowned cantors. And is the grandson of Cantor Rabbi Jacob Eisenbach (Pester). He studied at the Israel Yeshivot: Beer Yaakov, K'neset Chizkiyahu and Hevron. He received his basic education from the Viennese Cantor Zalman Polak. Barzilai graduated from the Institute of music and cantoral singing in Tel Aviv and studied with world famous cantors like Moshe Stern, Naftali Herstik, Shmuel Taube, Yizchak Eshel and the conductor Elli Jaffe.

He majored in philosophy and Judaic studies at the University of Vienna
where he received his Master's degree. Since 1992 Shmuel Barzilai is Chief Cantor of the Vienna Jewish Community.

Barzilai sang with philharmonic and symphonic orchestras throughout Europe, Israel and the U.S.A.. Solo performances at many festivals in Austria, Russia, Hungary, France, Germany, Poland, Italy. Romania and the Klezmer Festival in Safed marked his international career.

He sang the prayer "El Maleh Rachamim" accompanied by the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra at the legendary memorial service "Mauthausen 2000".

He was often guest on domestic and foreign television. Barzilai's repertoire includes liturgical cantoral music, Jewish soul music, Hassidic and Klezmer music, Israeli and classical songs, as well as opera arias. His proficiency is also demonstrated by the many CD's he has recorded like compositions of the world famous Cantor Salomon Sulzer ( 1804 –1890 ) with the Vienna Boys Choir in February 2000. In 2008 he already brought out a new CD – "Sound of Prayer", featuring cantoral and popular music, accompanied by the "S.F.Y. Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir", conducted by Mordechai Sobol.

His profound musical and religious knowledge is best demonstrated in his book "Chassidic Ecstasy in Music", published in 2007.

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