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John Spiro (Baritone)

Born: 1938 - Germany
Died: October 9, 1997 - Chicago, Illinois, USA

John (Johnny) Gabriel Spiro was born in Germany and immigrated to Israel with his parents when he was only one year old. From early age he was attracted to music, but firstly refused to advise of parents and experts to studying and dedicating his career to singing. He knew that he had beautiful and attractive voice, but had doubts about developing his natural gift. After finishing his army service, he agreed to take voice lessons. Nevertheless, he was still not sure about singing being the main road of his life. Parallel to studies at the Academy of Music in Jerusalem, he also studied Eastern and State sciences in the Hebrew University. At the same time he served as ‘hazan’ in the Har-El Synagogue of the Jewish Reform Study in Jerusalem. He studied singing with Mina Lof and later with Jennie Tourel. She proposed to him a scholarship at Juilliard School and in 1967 he started his studies there.

John Spiro sang the role of Jesus in J.S. Bach’s Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) at the Original Abu-Gosh Music Festival of 1965 and 1966. The Jerusalem Post wrote of his performance there in May 1966: “But it was Johnny Spiro as Jesus who sole the show. Hearing him one caught oneself regretting that Bach had not made the part a bigger one. Mr. Spiro’s voice sounds velvety and each tone was sheer delight. Interpretatively the part could not have been sung with greater dignity and a more stately manner.”

Source: Gideon Spiro (March 2004)
Contributed by:
Aryeh Oron (March 2004)

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