Emanuel Kirschner (1857-1938)
Emanuel Kirschner was born on February 15, 1857 in Rockitnitz, a small village in Upper Silesia. When the family moved to Beuthen, Cantor Josef Singer took young Kirschner into his choir, where he got to sing the new compositions by Salomon Sulzer. Kirschner calls his entrance into the choir the beginning of his preparation for his later profession as a cantor.
In 1874 Kirschner, then 17 years old, went to Berlin, where he was accepted as a student at the Jewish Teachers College. The director of music at the Berlin Teachers Seminary was the renowned Louis Lewandowski, who was also in charge of cantorial education. Kirschner became a paid singer in Lewandowski’s choir in the New Synagogue, Berlin and a few years later was appointed assistant cantor.
In 1881, at the age of 24, Kirschner became Oberkantor of the Great Synagogue in Munich and also a teacher of religion in the school system of the Congregation and City. (Kirschner became the successor of Cantor Max Löwenstamm.) After only two years of service, the Great Synagogue in Munich gave Kirschner a lifetime contract. He also enrolled in the Academy of Music in Munich to study composition with the famous Professor Josef Rheinberger, and in 1893 Kirschner himself became professor of vocal art at the Munich Academy of Music.
Kirschner exerted great inﬂuence on a young cantor who came to him in 1903 to ask for advice, Abraham Z. Idelssohn, Cantor in Regensburg, who was to become the greatest figure in Jewish musicology.
Kirschner’s compositions, were published in four volumes, T’hillos L‘el Elyon, between 1897 and 1926.
In 1928 Kirschner retired from active service. Emanuel Kirschner died on September 28, 1938.