Hirschhorn, Natasha (Jitomirskaia)

“Cantor Natasha (Jitomirskaia) Hirschhorn first became interested in Jewish music during her studies at the Gnesin Music College in Moscow. After graduating from college with Honors Diploma in musicology, piano and composition, she continued her education at the Kiev State Conservatory. Deepening her involvement in Judaism, Natasha also collaborated with the Kiev Jewish Youth Musical Theater as pianist, singer, and, later, its music director. The success of their four-women-show performances throughout Ukraine was embittered by the hostility both from the anti-Semitic Ukrainian authorities and the ultra-Orthodox rabbis. In 1992 Natasha’s quest for a more comprehensive Jewish education has brought her to Washington, D.C., where for three years she studied privately with cantors and rabbis from the area, including Cantors Sue Roemerand Sharon Steinberg. In May 1999 Natasha has completed her studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion, the only non-denominational Rabbinic and Cantorial Seminary, and was ordained as Hazzan and Teacher in Israel. After working as Cantor of the Metropolitan Synagogue of New York and Temple Judea in Massapequa, Long Island she is serving the congregation of Park Slope Jewish Center. Cantor Hirschhorn has received critical acclaim as an extraordinary composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist. Her first solo album of original music “They Call Me”, 9 meditations on Hebrew prayers has been released in June 2003. Natasha has also collaborated with Hazzan Dr. Ramon Tasat in recording of five CD’s: “Z’mirot and Piyutim” (1995), “Judeo-Spanish Art Songs” (1997), “Cantata Ebraica” (2000), “Libavtini” and “Your Bountiful Light” (2001). The latter features Natasha’s and Ramon’s arrangements of liturgical melodies by Norma Brooks based on the texts from the Siddur “Kol Haneshama”. Natasha continues to maintain her connection with the Russian Jewish communities in New York and Maryland as performer, lecturer and cantor. She has collaborated with the theater company “Tova” as a composer and performer for a production dedicated to the life stories of the Jewish immigrants from the Former Soviet Union performed at the Gratz College in Philadelphia as well as various congregations in New Jersey. Natasha is a Vice-President of Shalshelet: The Foundation for New Jewish Liturgical Music which seeks to foster new music for Jewish congregational use and expose wider audiences to innovations in Jewish religious music. Natasha is a member of the Long Island Composers Alliance since 1997, and the author of many liturgical and secular compositions. Her “Oseh Shalom” was published by the Transcontinental Music Publications. Natasha’s music was performed most recently at the 2001 Berkley Jewish Music Festival, 18th – 20th Women Cantors Network Conferences and the 11th and 12th North American Jewish Choral Festivals. Following her life-long commitment to the choral music as singer, accompanist and conductor, Cantor Hirschhorn has served on the staff of the Festival for the past five years. Since December 2000 she is conducting the Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus and teaching at the Academy for Jewish Religion. Natasha lives on the Upper West Side with her husband Rabbi Simon Hirschhorn and their daughter Miriam Esther.” This biography comes from the website of Natasha Hirschhorn.