Cantor Joseph Gross is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge about Jewish liturgy, Cantorial music, Cantorial voices and the history of the Cantorate in North America.
A delightful gentleman who has stored a lifetime of learning into his diminutive frame, Cantor Joseph Gross showed up at the Judaica Sound Archives a little over three years ago wondering if he could be of any help. His warmth and his big smile took us in immediately. But what captivated us was his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Cantorial and liturgical.
As he spoke I could not help but think that he has probably forgotten more than most of us will ever know on the topic. But as he continued, I realized that he is blessed with almost perfect recall. Not much seems to have been forgotten at all. You may have heard of people with photographic memories, but Cantor Gross is the only person I have ever met with “phonographic memory,” i.e. he can recall voice and music impeccably.
A master cantor and composer, Joseph Gross has been a regular volunteer at the JSA for over three years now. Several of our Cantorial music restoration projects have been possible only with his guidance and help.
The JSA has created three albums from the original tape recordings of Cantor Gross. These recordings are not available anywhere else and have never been commercially released. They were restored under the vigilant supervision of the Cantor himself.