Cantor Louis Danto, who served at Park Synagogue from 1966-73, died July 23 in Toronto, Canada. He was 81. After accepting his position at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue in Toronto, where he worked until his 1998 retirement, Cantor Danto returned to Cleveland to perform on many occasions.
Known for his bel canto method of singing, Cantor Danto gave concerts throughout the U.S., Europe and Israel. He recorded many albums in a range of styles including liturgical, opera, and Russian folk. In 1984, he sang for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Cantor Danto often researched rare and forgotten Jewish music. During his tours through Eastern Europe, he discovered many old manuscripts of Jewish theater and operetta, and within a year, he recorded the songs on a CD. (“Cantor Louis Danto unearths and records rare Yiddish music,” CJN, Jan. 10, 1997).
Born in Suwalki, Poland, Cantor Danto sang solos in choirs as a child. When the Germans invaded Poland, his family escaped to Minsk, Belarus, where he studied in a conservatory. He was moved to Russia to study with other talented children after the Germans pushed eastward. After the war, Cantor Danto studied in Italy with well-known tenors. He received an honorary doctorate in music from The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1998.
Cantor Danto is survived by his wife Rouhama and children Annette, Denise and David.