NEW YORK (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – Cantor Daniel Gildar, an accomplished chazan who was also well known as the pianist of choice at major cantorial concerts throughout the world, died unexpectedly on Wednesday evening at the age of 75.
A native of Cleveland who studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and majored in piano, theory and voice, Gildar participated in seven historic missions to Europe with the Chaim and Gila Weiner Society for the Advancement of Cantorial Art. He was a fixture at every major cantorial concert for decades and was renowned in the world of music for his encyclopedic knowledge of chazanus.
Gildar was scheduled to record a Park East Synagogue musical Thanksgiving celebration together with Cantor Yitzchak Helfgot on Wednesday night. The concert was scheduled to be streamed Sunday afternoon in honor of the 60th wedding anniversary of Park East members and benefactors Judith and Zoltan Lefkovitz. Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky, a long time friend, said that Gildar called him in the afternoon to say that he was feeling unwell and would be unable to make it to the synagogue. Gildar went to the hospital where he passed away several hours later
“He was an unbelievable human being who knew just what to do for a chazan,” Rogosnitzky told VIN News. “He was kind and generous on the piano and if a chazan went flat or off key, he knew musically how to get him back, saving him from potential embarrassment.”
According to Rogosnitzky, Gildar’s death leaves a tremendous void in the cantorial world, which was plunged into mourning after learning of his passing.
“Danny was so much a part of the fabric of the world of chazanut,” said Rogosnitzky. “I went through my Rolodex and there is no one like him. He literally held the hands of two generations of chazanim.
Gildar and his late wife Marsha had no children of their own but had an open home and a large adoptive family.