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Azi Schwartz joined the Park Avenue Synagogue clergy in 2009. He follows distinguished predecessors, including Cantor David Putterman and Cantor David Lefkowitz, whose musical leadership established Park Avenue Synagogue as the flagship of Jewish liturgical music in the United States.
Born and raised in Israel, Cantor Azi Schwartz has sung with prestigious orchestras and choirs around the world, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin RIAS Kammerchor. He has performed in the United Nations’ General Assembly Hall, the United States Capitol Rotunda, and the Knesset, as well as in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Mann Auditorium. Cantor Schwartz serves on the faculty of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR in New York City and on the faculty of the cantorial school of Abraham Geiger College in Berlin.
Cantor Schwartz earned a master in music (M.Mus) from the Mannes School of Music in New York City, where he majored in voice and conducting. He is a graduate of the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute and also studied classical music at The Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance. Prior to embarking on his professional musical career, Azi graduated from the Har Etzion Hesder Yeshiva and completed his military service as a soloist in the Israeli Defense Forces Rabbinical Troupe.
Azi has served as Cantor of the Palm Beach Synagogue in Florida, Cantor and Choir Conductor of the Park East Synagogue in New York City, Cantor of Heichal Meir Synagogue in Tel Aviv and Assistant Cantor of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. His singing and conducting repertoire includes classical music, Israeli music, Jewish music and original works. He has released seven solo albums in addition to participating in several other recordings.
Azi is married to Dr. Noa Schwartz, and they have three children, Jonathan, Daniel and Emmy.
Click here to hear Cantor Schwartz's music.
Cantor Shira Lissek joined Park Avenue Synagogue as Assistant Cantor in July, 2013. A third-generation hazzan, she brings to her cantorate a wide knowledge of Jewish music, an inspiring voice, a vibrant spirit, and life long synagogue experience. She is also a concert artist, operatic soloist, and educator.
Shira began leading High Holy Day services for Congregation Beth Shalom in Kansas City at age 19. She later served The Fort Lee Jewish Center as Hazzan Sheni. From 2007-2013 she was Hazzan and Musical Director at Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights.
Shira is passionate about enriching the lives of her students with positive Jewish experiences. She has taught at SAJ, The 92nd Street Y, and The New Shul in Manhattan.
Shira earned her Bachelor of Music in voice from Indiana University and her Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance from The Manhattan School of Music on a merit scholarship. She has performed leading roles with prestigious opera companies and orchestras including the Seattle Opera and won praise from the New York Times for her performance in the title role of Handel's La Griselda. A proud member of Actors Equity, she performed off-Broadway and continues to participate in numerous cantorial concerts and recitals throughout the country and abroad.
Cantor Lissek is married to Lloyd Nerenberg. They have two young children, Reuben and Maayan.