Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Cantor Marina Belenky with the Doctor of Music at Graduation Ceremonies in New York on Thursday, May 5, 2011, at Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York. Cantor Belenky was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumna of HUC-JIR.
Cantor Marina Belenky is one of the most outstanding cantors in the American Jewish world. An accomplished performer, choral conductor and teacher, her musical repertoire includes Jewish liturgical music, Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and Russian music; Broadway show tunes; and opera. With her rich, sonorous mezzo-soprano voice and profound musicality, Marina stirs the spirit of congregants and audiences of all ages.
Cantor Belenky was born into a musical family in St. Petersburg, Russia. At age seven, she began to play violin and at age 11, the piano. But she always dreamed of becoming a singer like her mother. After graduating from the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory of Music, Cantor Belenky left Russia in search of religious and artistic freedom.
In 1982, she continued her studies at The Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR and was invested as a cantor in 1986. Cantor Belenky holds the distinction of being one of the first Russian émigré artists to study for the cantorate and to serve as a female cantor in a congregation.
Click here to view the National Ordination/Investiture/Graduation press release.