CHARLES HELLER is a graduate of Cambridge University. He furthered his studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and York University, received a B.Ed. in Music Education from the University of Toronto, and studied composition with Marjan Mozetich.
He taught high school and middle school music for over thirty years, and has been involved for over fifty years in synagogue music, beginning as a boy soprano aged eight. His work with Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue, Toronto, was recognized by the United Synagogue of America with the Solomon Schechter Award for Music in 1982. He has performed with such major figures as Marvin Hamlisch, Cantor David Kusevitsky and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. His arrangements and original compositions are used in synagogues and in concerts throughout the world.
Charles has been on the editorial board of the Cantors Assembly, New York since 1986. His interest in the transmission and evolution of Jewish music is the basis of his award-winning book What To Listen For in Jewish Music (www.ecanthuspress.com). Recent works include the song cycles Tramvay Lider/ Streetcar Songs (supported with a grant from Canadian Heritage) and Letters from Bozena (commissioned by Rivka Golani, English version commissioned by The Kiever Shul, Toronto). His 2014 work The Two Ravens for viola, flute and strings, commissioned by Rivka Golani and premiered at Head-Smashed-In, Alberta, was described by Marjan Mozetich as “very beautiful…very expressive”.