Cantors

Azi Schwartz

Cantor
212-369-2600, x125

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.

Shira Lissek

Cantor
212-369-2600, x126

Cantor Shira Lissek joined Park Avenue Synagogue as clergy 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.

Rachel Brook

Cantorial Fellow
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Cantor Rachel Brook joined the Park Avenue Synagogue community in July, 2016 as the inaugural Cantorial Fellow after serving as the Cantorial Intern from 2015-2016. She was invested as a Hazzan at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at JTS in May, 2016.

Prior to her arrival at PAS, Rachel worked as the Music Educator for Youth and Family at B’nai Jeshurun; she is featured, along with several of her compositions, on their latest recording, Bim Bam at BJ. Previously, she served as the Hazzan Sheni at Temple Beth Ami in Rockville, Maryland and as the High Holy Day Cantor at Temple Israel of Greater Miami.

A devotee of Jewish choral music, Cantor Brook serves as the conductor of Shir Chadash: The Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus. She is a past conductor of the Westchester chapter of HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir and has been on the faculty of the North American Jewish Choral Festival as Conductor of the Youth Choir. She has been a service leader and educator at synagogues throughout the NYC area and at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where she curated and taught the Yeshiva’s first course on Building Singing Communities.

Rachel Brook has sung at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall and in the Rose Theatre at Jazz at Lincoln Center. She has performed with Zamir Chorale, recorded with Kirtan Rabbi and sung opera and concert roles throughout the USA, Italy, and Bulgaria.

Rachel received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Indiana University and her Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy with Distinction from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Cantor Brook is married to Matt Holman. Together with their 2-year-old daughter, they look forward to many Tot Tefillah services at PAS.

Eliana Light

Director of Music Education
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Eliana Light grew up in Memphis Tennessee, where her rabbi father and educator mother instilled in her a love of Jewish living. She attended Schechter schools and Ramah camps, was active in United Synagogue Youth, and did her gap year with the Nativ Leadership Program in Israel. In 2013 she graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University, where she was active in Jewish life and the performing arts.

Prior to starting at PAS, Eliana worked as the Education Director for Bible Raps, served as songleader for the New Shul, taught classes for the Jewish Journey Project, and tutored Bnei Mitzvah. An award-winning Jewish singer-songwriter, Eliana is excited to bring her love of Jewish music, prayer, and community to Park Avenue Synagogue!

Colin Fowler

Music Director
Colin Fowler began his musical study at the age of 5 in Kansas City and went on to study at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy. He continued his education at The Juilliard School, where he received his Bachelor of Music in 2003 and his Master of Music in 2005. While at Juilliard, he studied piano with Abbey Simon, organ with Gerre Hancock and Paul Jacobs, harpsichord with Lionel Party, and conducting with James dePriest and Judith Clurman. A versatile musician and conductor, Fowler works in many areas of the music scene in New York City. He is a veteran of numerous Broadway shows, most recently performing in the Tony Award winning musical Jersey Boys. As a classical soloist and collaborative artist, he has performed and recorded with many world renowned musicians and ensembles, including Deborah Voigt and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He began to collaborate with the Mark Morris Dance Group in 2005 and has since then performed over 45 pieces with the company on almost every keyboard instrument possible, including the harmonium and toy piano, and has conducted performances of Mozart Dances, Acis and Galatea, and The Hard Nut. Hailed by the New York Times as 'invaluable' and 'central to Morris' music', he was appointed music director in 2013. A seasoned church musician, Fowler is currently the organist at Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue. He has previously led choirs and services in NYC at Trinity Wall Street and St Thomas Church, among others. He led services at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue from 2006-2010, and joined the music staff at Park Avenue Synagogue in 2012 taking over from McNeil Robinson. He was appointed Music Director in 2016.