Cantor Emeritus Benjamin Z. Maissner
Benjamin Z. Maissner is the Cantor Emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple, in Toronto, Canada, the Conductor and Music Director of Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir, and a part-time faculty member at Abraham Geiger College.
A versatile Shliach Tzibbur and performer, Cantor Maissner has mastered a variety of musical styles, ranging from Jewish Renaissance and early Hebrew Art Music to contemporary Canadian, American and Israeli compositions. He has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Jerusalem Theatre in Jerusalem, Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Washington State; as well as Roy Thomson Hall, The Ford Centre for the Performing Arts, Air Canada Centre, Koerner Hall, and Leah Posluns Theatre, in Toronto. He has been featured with several symphony orchestras, including Toronto, San Francisco, Winnipeg, Hamilton, York University, Bulgarian Sofia, and Ra’anana. At the invitation of the Centre for Jewish Music in Hanover, Germany, he returned to his father’s home city to participate in a concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. More recently, he appeared in The “Night” Holocaust Project https://thenightholocaustproject.com. Additionally, the Cantor consulted and sang on documentary films for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, including “To Mend the World” and “The Man Who Hid Anne Frank”, produced by Harry Rasky.
Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Cantorial Music from Hebrew Union College, a Master’s degree in Music History, Voice and Performance from Temple University, and honorary Doctorates from Hebrew Union College and Jewish Theological Seminary, the Cantor is a highly sought-after lecturer, teacher, coach, and mentor, with an encyclopedic knowledge of Jewish secular and liturgical music. He was the National Chair of the Certification Program of the American Conference of Cantors; Cantor-in-Residence at Hebrew Union College in New York, Cincinnati and Jerusalem; and is a regular lecturer and coach at Abraham Geiger College, in Berlin.
A leader in the Jewish community, Cantor Maisser served on the executive board of the Cantors’ Assembly (Conservative) and as Vice President of the American Conference of Cantors (Reform). In recognition of his significant contribution to the reconciliation between Christians and Jews and Germans and Jews, and for restoring and preserving the great Jewish musical heritage of Germany, Cantor Maissner was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Germany’s highest civilian honour.