Meir Finkelstein (b. 1951)
Meir Finkelstein was born in Israel in 1951 the son of a chazzan. His father, the late Zvi Finkelstein accepted a cantorial position in London, England and the family emigrated in 1955. Meir showed outstanding musical abilities at an early age and along with his older brother, Aryeh was soon accompanying his father at services.
A year after his Bar Mitzvah, Meir was appointed cantor at a small synagogue in Glasgow, Scotland thereby becoming the youngest cantor in Europe. He, along with his father and brother recorded two albums of original liturgical music which were subsequently released in the USA.
At age 18, Meir took up the position of chazzan at one of London’s most prestigious congregations, Golders Green Synagogue. While serving this congregation, he also completed his musical education. Meir graduated from the Royal College of Music and received an ARCM degree in Singing, Piano and Composition. His talent was discovered a few years later by Beth Hillel Congregation in Wilmette, Il and he subsequently emigrated to the United States. Meir served as cantor of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, USA for 18 years during which time he composed over 100 settings for the liturgy.
Meir is one of the best-documented composers of contemporary Jewish music, and his compositions are sung in synagogues throughout the world. He has collaborated with Steven Spielberg, composing music for the Visual History Foundation’s award-winning documentary, “Survivors of the Holocaust.” In 1995, Meir premiered his “Liberation” Oratorio, a large-scale and moving work written for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and many well-known soloists, hosted by Billy Crystal. Cantor Finkelstein is also in great demand as a producer and arranger and has collaborated on many of his colleauges' albums. He was one on the "Three Cantors" along with Alberto Mizrahi and David Propis, concertizing in the USA to sold-out audiences. Meir recently moved to Toronto with his wife Monica and their children, Noah 4, and Emily, 3. He also has two grown-up children, Nadia and Adam. Beginning in August 2002, Meir took up the post as cantor at Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto, the largest Conservative Synagogue in the world.