TABLE OF CONTENTS
Manuscript Collection No. 690
Harold Orbach was born March 31, 1931 in Dusseldorf, Germany. He immigrated to America in 1940 after being smuggled out of Germany via the Kindertransport to England. Orbach's concert career began with a performance at New York's Town Hall when he was 18. He served his first congregation as a cantor when he was only fifteen, prior to the establishment of any school that trained cantors in this country.
Orbach is a graduate of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's School of Sacred Music, where he also received an honorary doctorate degree. In addition, he was the winner of the Katherine Long scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music, and holds a Master's degree from the University of Oklahoma. He has also served as president of the American Conference of Cantors and was the recipient of Metropolitan Detroit's 2001 Bernard L. Maas Foundation prize for Achievement in Jewish Culture and Continuity. His voice appears on fourteen recordings and has been used as background for films.
Cantor Orbach has appeared in concerts from Germany to Cuba to Japan and from New York's Lincoln Center to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. He appeared in a special concert at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and participated in the 350th anniversary of the founding of the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere - located in Curacao. In addition to taking part in Jerusalem's commemoration of 3,000 years and receiving the State of Israel Culture Medal by the late Golda Meir, he has earned the title as one of "the most celebrating cantors."
Orbach has appeared in many world premiere performances, including the first symphony performance of Leonard Bernstein's "Dybbuk Variations," Dave Brubeck's "The Gates of Justice," Martin Kalmanoff's "A Victory at Masada," Chajes' "Out of the Desert," and Ellstein's "The Thief and the Hangman," Having sung at Israel's 25th and 50th anniversary celebrations in the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, in Caesarea and in Jerusalem, he also participated in the 100th anniversary celebration of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Hebrew Union College, as well as Detroit's 300th anniversary and the U.S. bicentennial concert in Philadelphia, where he appeared with Dave Brubeck and Ella Fitzgerald. Orbach was also the leading tenor of the American Savoyards and the Piccolo Opera Company.
The New York Times has described Orbach's voice as "sweet-toned singing," while the Cincinnati Post portrays him as "a great tenor voice that shines in every repertoire." The Metropolitan Opera News says that Orbach sang with "rich and vibrant tones."
The cantor at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan for four decades, Orbach married his wife Evelyn on June 24, 1951. Evelyn Orbach is a trained actress and is currently the Artistic Director for the Jewish Ensemble Theater at the Detroit Jewish Community Center. They have three daughters: Sharon, Judith, and Lila, and one son, Richard.
The Harold Orbach papers consist of materials related to the professional career of Cantor Harold Orbach, who has worked as a cantor for over 50 years.
The Orbach papers combine biographical information, press releases, performance programs, plus degrees, awards, etc., together with recording of Cantor Orbach's performances. The recordings are on long playing phonograph albums and include performances with artists such as Dave Brubeck.
This collection is arranged in two (2) series:
Terms of Access
The collection is open for use; no restrictions apply.
Terms of Reproduction and Use
Copyright restrictions may apply. Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce, with exceptions for fair use, may be obtained through the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio. Please address queries to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. For more information, see the American Jewish Archives copyright information webpage.
Footnotes and bibliographic references should refer to the Harold Orbach Papers and the American Jewish Archives. A suggestion for at least the first citation is as follows:
[Description], [Date], Box #, Folder #. MS-690. Harold Orbach Papers. American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Harold Orbach Papers were received from West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 2001.
Processed by Rachel M. Howse, October, 2002.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the AJA's online catalog.
Temple Israel (West Bloomfield, Mich.)
Music -- Religious aspects -- Judaism