|Salomon Sulzer - Biography
Birthplace (above) and Salomon Sulzer with his wife Franziska (below)
Salomon Sulzer was born in Hohenems in 1804 where his family had settled in the early 17th century. After the expulsion in 1646, the family moved to Sulz. That is the reason why their name was changed from Levi to Sulzer in 1714, when the Bavarian Edict called for German family names. In 1744, the family returned to their original home community of Hohenems.
To Salomon Sulzer it was clear from an early age that he would choose a clerical career. When he had almost drowned as a six-year-old, his rescue was a reason for him to follow his vocation. As an 11-year-old he started his training as a cantor in the synagogue of Endingen. After study visits in Karlsruhe, the only 16-year-old was chosen for the new position as cantor in the synagogue of Hohenems.
In 1824, Salomon Sulzer was called to the newly built Viennese synagogue on recommendation of preacher Isaak Noah Mannheimer. In a short time he won favour with the Viennese Jewish community. His prominence during the 1848 revolution brought him fame well beyond the city of Vienna – also the people of Hohenems, who have been pround him during his lifetime. Even before his death, memorial plaques have been placed at his birth house.
Sulzer became famous with his songs for Jewish services called „Schir Zion“. He published his work in 1838 after receiving numerous requests from all over Europe. “Schir Zion” reformed Jewish liturgy and his ideas strongly changed the service and the image of the cantor. The new type (Sulzer cantor) who involved in a well-oranized Jewish service together with the rabbi, became more and more important. This new, modern way of a Jewish synagogue service distinguished itself through a stronger discipline. Auditions (Vorsingen) have now been free from improvisation and ornaments.
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