Cantor Shira Lissek is one of this generation's most exciting singers and cantors who performs and interprets liturgical and popular songs with her exquisite musical gifts and tremendous spirit.
Shira released her solo album Ani Maamin, I Believe: A Voice For Humanity which features reflective and prayerful songs that serve as her love poem to the human spirit. Her debut solo album, P’tach Libi, Open My Heart, with her setting of Mi Shebeirach that she created with Oran Eldor, was released in 2015. She is also featured on albums including Bluegrass Shabbat with Matt Check, the Heritage Ensembles Mosaica as well as recordings published by Park Avenue Synagogue.
After 22 year in New York City, Shira Lissek relocated to Charlotte North Carolina to serve as the Cantor of Temple Israel NC (TempleIsraelnc.org). In New York she served as the Associate Cantor of Park Avenue Synagogue, the largest Conservative community in NYC and the flagship of Jewish liturgical music in North America. There she partnered with Cantor Azi Schwartz for 5 years. Worship services and programs led by Cantor Lissek at Park Avenue Synagogue and now Temple Israel reach thousands of people via live streaming. Shira also began "Shira with Shira" a weekly Jewish Music blog featuring traditional and contemporary Jewish music to spiritually uplift and emotionaly move her community.
Cantor Lissek is a religious leader in the broader community. She sang Ravel's Kaddish for the FDNY 9-11 Commemorations at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 2011 and 2016 with Cardinals Eagan and Dolan. She shared her family's story of survival during a "Talk Back" with cast and producers of American in Paris- on Broadway about life in Paris before and during World War II and she was a presenter for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of The ADL's Hidden Child Foundation. She sang the National Anthem for the WNBA at Madison Square Garden, and for the Staten Island Yankees Jewish Heritage night. She officiated in the interfaith service of Healing and Reconciliation in memory of Eric Garner with Cardinal Dolan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as Together in Spirit at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue with Opera Ebony. She presented A Shabbat Gathering of Love and Light the night before the Women's March on New York with Neshama Carlebach, Basya Schechter, and Beth Styles. In March 2017 she served as the Hazzan for the AIPAC Policy Conference Shabbaton and sang Hatikvah for the opening ceremony in Washington D. C.
Cantor Lissek earned a Master's in Music from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where she majored in voice on a merit scholarship, and a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University School of Music in vocal performance. Prior to embarking on her cantorial career, Shira sang on prestigious concert and opera stages including Mimi in La Boheme at the Philadelphia Kimmel Center and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Seattle Opera.
In concert Shira opened for Matisyahu with Neshama Carlebach. She sang in The Best American Diva's of Hazzanut at B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton and co-created Kavannah: The song and soul of Barbra Streisandw with Cantor Magda Fishman. She was invited as Hazzan in Residence to West London Synagogue in London and Agudat Achim in Washington D.C. for concerts, lectures and services. She has been featured in numerous concerts of Jewish Music. Notably she headlined with The Klezmer Company Orchestra's concerts that fuse Latin and Klezmer music and with Gene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble, creating Jazz arrangements of Jewish Music. The Gulf Coast Symphony featured her in annual Pops Concerts including, A tribute to Barbra Streisand, An evening of Irving Berlin, Unmasked – the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Broadway Blockbusters.
Born and raised in St. Louis, MO surrounded by Jewish Music, Cantor Lissek learned and Art of the Cantor from her father, Cantor Leon Lissek of Congregation B’nai Amoona and her mentors Cantors David Barash, Leon Lissek (her father), Azi Schwartz and Paul Zim. She is also the granddaughter of the late Rabbi Pinchas Chasin of Philadelphia and great-granddaughter Hazzan Hirsch L. Chazin of New Jersey. She began serving as Hazzan Sheni at age 19, when she was invited to lead High Holiday services for Congregation Beth Shalom of Kansas City and then Congregation Gesher Shalom (The Jewish Community Center of Fort Lee, NJ). Prior to Park Avenue Synagogue, she served as Hazzan and Music Director of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights for 6 years.