PUTTERMAN, DAVID (1903–1979), U.S. cantor. Born in New York, Putterman was one of the first American-trained cantors to establish a reputation for himself. In his youth he sang and studied with the leading cantors of the time, including Zeidel Rovner (Jacob Samuel *Morogowsky) and Josef *Rosenblatt. From 1921 to 1933 he was cantor of Temple Israel, Washington Heights, New York, and then moved to the Park Avenue Synagogue. He had a pleasing tenor voice and was a popular soloist in concert and radio programs. Putterman strove to interest Jewish and non-Jewish composers alike in composing for the synagogue, and commissioned a series of "Services of Contemporary Liturgical Music." An anthology of 38 of these works, Synagogue Music by Contemporary Composers, was published in 1951 and includes compositions by Leonard *Bernstein, Darius *Milhaud, Morton Gould, Kurt *Weill, Mario *Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Alexander Gretchaninoff, Roy Harris, and the African-American composer William Grant Still. Putterman was also instrumental in the establishment of the Cantors Assembly of the United Synagogue of America and the Cantors Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

[David M.L. Olivestone]

In 1979 the Cantor's Assembly of New York issued Mizmor le-David, containing compositions by Putterman which he sang during his 43 years (1933–76) as cantor to the Park Avenue synagogue.

[Akiva Zimmerman]


Jewish Ministers Cantors' Association of America, Di Geshikhte fun Khazzones (1924), 165; Cantors' Voice (Dec. 1952), 7; I. Rabinovitch, Of Jewish Music (1952), 306–7.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.