Beginning today this column will feature members of our incomparable professional synagogue choir.
Many of you may not be aware just how illustrious and accomplished each member of our choir is.
We begin with Albert Niedel.
Mr. Albert Moshe Niedel is a Lyric-Dramatic Baritone who was born the first day of Rosh Hashanah on October 2, 1978 in Budapest, Hungary. In 1983 his family moved to Riga, Latvia. He grew up in a Jewish conservative family. His father, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Niedel, was the chief Rabbi of Riga Latvia as well as one of the first Diplomated Rabbis in Eastern Europe. He became interested in voice and singing when he was only five years old.
When he turned ten years old his father decided to introduce him to the newly established Jewish folk ensemble Kinnor in Riga, Latvia. Eventually, Kinnor became the first Jewish choir ensemble in the Soviet Union that was internationally acclaimed, as well as one of the first of its kind in Eastern Europe. In 1989, prior to the US tour Albert’s father suddenly died from a stroke at the age of forty. While participating in the Kinnor ensemble Mr. Niedel has experienced singing in different styles, dialects and languages of Jewish folk music, such as: Yiddish, Hebrew, Yemen, Farsi, Ladino, Polish, Latvian, English and others, as well as performed all around the world. In 1990 the 25 members of Kinnor including Mr. Niedel engaged in a national tour of the US. As the size of Mr. Niedel’s voice grew, he started to receive some solo parts and eventually, while still a teenager, became interested in cantorial liturgy. At the age of fifteen he started singing some challenging cantorial parts. A retired minister of education, Ben-Zion Melamed from Israel heard Mr. Niedel sing in the first-ever reopening of the Jewish school in Riga after the Second World War and enrolled him to spend his high school years in Israel.
In the spring of 1995 after the terror tragedy occurred close by Eshivat Kfar-Haroe Bnei-Akivah Mr. Niedel was invited among some other special guests to the house of Israeli president Eliazar Weitzman.
On June 30, 1996 graduated from Eshivat Kfar-Haroe Bnei Akivah. While studying in Israel, Mr. Niedel become a member of the cantorial ensemble Yuval. In Yuval he has met, sung with, and heard some of the greatest and internationally acclaimed cantors of our days, as well as promising operatic stars. On August 16, 1996 the Niedel family immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland of the United States, where Mr. Niedel is currently residing. Mr. Niedel is a graduate student at Morgan State University. Most recently Albert Niedel was featured in the renowned internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Dr. Simon Este’s masterclass which was released on commercial DVD. In December 2009 Mr. Niedel was selected among finalists to Virginia Young Artist Program as well as graduated with honors from Bowie State University. Mr. Niedel has performed with various opera companies in North America and Europe.
Last summer Mr. Niedel made his debut as Rigoletto in Italy and as Enrico in “Lucia di Lammermoor” with Bethesda Music Festival. Mr. Niedel was among the 10 top semifinalist of all voice types selected by the Maryland Opera Society in June 2009. In 2008 he was invited by one of the greatest living dramatic sopranos Sylvia Sass to come to Pezenas Festival in South France where he made his debut as Dapertutto and Dr. Miracle in the “Tales of Hoffman”. In addition some of his major roles include both Tonio, Silvio in “Pagliacci”, Renato in “Un Ballo in Maschera” Escamillo and Morales in “Carmen”, Figaro in the “Barber of Seville”, Count Almaviva in the “Marriage of Figaro”, Count Danilo, Baron Mirko Zeta in the “Merry Widow” and others. Mr. Niedel has performed with the Baltimore and Washington Summer Opera chorus and in compramario roles, Dr. Richard Crittenden summer opera workshop and other young artists programs. Mr. Niedel regularly sings with the Chizuk Amuno Congregation choir. Albert Niedel is a winner of various competitions, including NATS in Spring 2006.