Erik Contzius

Demonstrating deep love and commitment toward his field of endeavor, Cantor Erik Contzius’ unique sounds beautifully reflect his relationship with the Divine, which is clearly evident in his pulpit presence and original compositions. And while his passion for music ranges from Hazzanut (cantorial art music) to Yiddish folk songs, as well as Opera and Broadway melodies, Cantor Contzius is most at home on the pulpit leading prayer.

Cantor Contzius presently serves as the Cantor of Temple Israel of New Rochelle, and has served as Cantor at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and Temple Israel of Omaha, Nebraska. He has also served as Composer-in-Residence at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, and in 2009 at Mifgash Musicale, a joint program of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in conjunction with the American Conference of Cantors and the Guild of Temple Musicians.

Directing all musical liturgies for synagogue worship, Cantor Contzius has composed many original works for the synagogue, namely The Travelers' Prayer, Hineh Mah Tov, and Shalom Rav, which have been published by Transcontinental Music Publications, as well as a large self published catalogue. His composition, And Hannah Prayed, was selected to be performed in The Third International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music sponsored by Shalshelet.

His compositions and voice also appear on several recordings, including Teach My Lips a Blessing: The Music of Erik Contzius, recorded with the Amor Artis Chamber Choir, and a solo collection of Jewish art music for both cantor and pipe organ interpretations entitled How Excellent is Thy Name.

Cantor Contzius has performed in many distinguished solo presentations, most recently in Israel for the Mozart Requiem. Earlier in 2010, he was a soloist with the Westchester Chorale to perform the Darius Milhaud Service Sacré. He has performed Ernest Bloch's Sacred Service (Avodat HaKodesh) in the 2008 Songs of Life festival in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria and Petah Tikva and Jerusalem, Israel under the baton of Dian Tchobanev, as well as with the Menno Singers in Kitchener, Ontario. He has performed with the Westchester Chorale with Maestro Daniel Paget in Handel’s Israel in Egypt. Previous performances include appearing in Münich, Germany in the concert, "Vergessene Musik—The Forgotten Music of the German Jewish Reform Movement." He also has performed at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City two years consecutively in their Jewish Vienna and Germany concerts. Cantor Contzius appeared on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as a soloist in a special concert titled Let Freedom Sing. In 1998, he performed at the International Organ Festival of Göteborg, Sweden, where he led services at the Great Synagogue of Göteborg.

His vocal training is ongoing, having studied with Tom Lomonaco, Carlos Serrano, David Adams, Dr. Donald Roberts, and presently with Richard Slade

Raised in Parsippany, New Jersey, Cantor Contzius received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Rutgers College and then went on to study abroad at the University of York, England. He received his Master of Sacred Music degree from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, School of Sacred Music, studying in Israel and New York City. He resides in New Rochelle, New York.