Cantor Don Gurney, Emeritus

  • Clergy
Cantor Don Gurney, Emeritus

Cantor Don Gurney served as Wilshire BoulevardTemple's first ordained Cantor from 1999 through fall 2023 when he became Cantor Emeritus. 

Sharing his sophisticated knowledge and deep love of Cantorial and Synagogue music, including many new compositions, a number of which he commissioned, Cantor Don Gurney reimagined, reshaped, and created a new and inspiring mode of worship at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, establishing the foundation for an authentic Jewish musical experience.

Mentored by legendary Cantors Saul Meisels z"l, Israel Goldstein z"l, Moshe Ganchoff z"l and Jacob Mendelson, Cantor Gurney was ordained after receiving his master's degree in Sacred Music from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC) in New York City. Cantor Gurney also holds an honorary doctorate in Sacred Music from HUC.

After ordination, Cantor Gurney was invited to join the faculty of HUC as an instructor in Cantorial studies, music history, art songs and additionally, as the Director of the School of Sacred Music Choir. He continued to hold these academic positions while also serving as Senior Cantor, first at The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut, and then at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. 

Through his love of teaching and connecting, Cantor Gurney has mentored many Cantors and cantorial students, and congregants (in all synagogues he's served) some of whom have been inspired to become Cantors themselves. His devoted work with B'nei-Mitzvah has both impacted his countless students and brought him great joy and satisfaction.

Cantor Gurney also takes great pride in having produced numerous large scale performances at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, including concerts by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The UCLA Orchestra and Chorus (Handel's Judas Maccabbeus), a concert featuring the late Burt Bacharach, and a 150 voice interfaith community choir, concerts celebrating the life and music of Leonard Bernstein, as well as numerous performances highlighting the vast and diverse treasures of Synagogue music. 

Cantor Don Gurney is the fortunate husband of Los Angeles native, Nancy Binder. He and Nancy are the profoundly proud parents of daughter Gillian, who is amazing.