Born in Germany under the Nazi regime, Harold Orbach emigrated to America in 1940 and began his concert career with a recital at New York's Town Hall. He first served as a cantor at the age of fifteen, self-taught at a time when America was still without formal cantorial schools. He subsequently graduated and received his cantorial investiture from the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College, from which he later received an honorary doctorate, and he was the recipient of a Katherine Long Scholarship to The Juilliard School. Since 1962 Cantor Orbach has served the pulpit of Temple Israel in Detroit, and later in West Bloomfield, Michigan. He is a former president of the American Conference of Cantors. His many ecumenical appearances include the International Eucharistic Congress and interfaith celebrations in the Washington Episcopal Cathedral. He was awarded the State of Israel Culture Medal by the late prime minister Golda Meir. In concert, Cantor Orbach has appeared throughout the world and has taken part in numerous premieres, including Dave Brubeck's Gates of Justice, Julius Chajes's Out of the Desert, and Abraham Ellstein's The Thief and the Hangman. He sang at Israel's 25th and 50th birthday celebrations in Tel Aviv's Mann Auditorium and in Caesaria and Jerusalem; at the 100th anniversary of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and Hebrew Union College; in Curacao at the 350th anniversary of the official founding of the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere; and at the United States Bicentennial concert in Philadelphia with Dave Brubeck and Ella Fitzgerald. He has also been a leading tenor with the American Savoyards and the Piccolo Opera Company.
Orbach died on April 17, 2014.
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