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David Kusevitsky Dead at 74

Funeral services were held this morning for Cantor David Kusevitsky, a leading interpreter of liturgical music, who died of heart failure yesterday at the New York Medical Center. He was 74 years old.

Born in Smorgon, near Vilna, the youngest of four brothers, Kusevitsky led the choir at the main Vilna Synagogue. He later went to London where he was cantor at Hendon Synagogue and taught Jewish music at the Jews’ College.

In 1948 he came to the United States to be the cantor at Temple Emanu-El in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, where he remained until shortly before his death. From 1967 until the end of the Spring semester of this year, Kusevitsky also taught at the Cantor’s Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

He made numerous recordings including traditional and original compositions and transcribed onto sheet music the liturgy for the entire prayer book for the Sabbath and holidays. The volumes were donated to Bar llan University in Israel.

The Kusevitsky brothers — Moshe, Jacob, Simcha and David — became well known cantors in New York and in South Africa. In 1953, the four brothers appeared at Carnegie Hall before a sold out audience for their first joint American recital.

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