Coming from an illustrious Cantorial music tradition, Jacob Barkin and his family immigrated to Canada in 1920 when he was 6 years old. Although he always sang in the synagogue he achieved fame by singing popular music on the radio during the early 1930s in Philadelphia. He officiated in a San Francisco synagogue from the early 1940s through 1952 when he took a position with Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC.
While in Washington, DC his reputation as an important cantor grew. He expanded his repertoire to include concerts and opera. Performing with the Washington National Symphony and touring across the USA, Mexico, Italy and Israel enhanced his prominence and stature as a great cantor.
During the 1960s his interest in classical opera grew as he studied with the famed Maestro Fausto Cleva. This led to operatic performances with the Pittsburgh and New York Symphony Orchestras and culminated in an offer of a contract by the Metropolitan Opera.
Choosing to continue his life in the pulpit, he left Washington in the mid 1970s and moved to Pittsburgh, PA where he performed both Cantorial and Operatic works in his concerts.
He was decorated by the Israeli government for his many Israeli performances and support of the troops and for several years stepped into Richard Tucker’s role as Cantor for High Holiday services at the Concord Hotel in upstate New York (Catskills).
He sang at Holy Blossom Congregation in Toronto, until his retirement in 1995.
Music courtesy of Robert Barkin, son of the late Cantor Jacob Barkin.