Hazzan Daniel Halfon was born in London in 1955, and grew up in that city’s ancient Spanish and Portuguese community under the tutelage of Rabbi Dr Abraham Levy. From an early age he sang in the congregation’s choir. As a young man, he was inspired by the artistry of the hazzanim within the community: Abraham Beniso, Halfon Benarroch, and Eliezer Abinun, with whom he studied for many years. In 1978, at the recommendation of Haham Dr Solomon Gaon, he was invited by Congregation Shearith Israel in New York to serve as assistant hazzan. This gave him the opportunity to study the New York and Amsterdam variants of the tradition with Hazzan Abraham Lopes Cardozo.
Since the mid-1980s Halfon has performed in concerts across the world, and sung in all the major synagogues of the Spanish and Portuguese tradition, including the Esnoga in Amsterdam, Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, and the Bevis Marks and Lauderdale Road Synagogues in London. He was chosen as the hazzan representing the Western Sephardi tradition in the international festival held in Tel Aviv to mark the 500th anniversary of the expulsion from Spain.
For 18 years, Halfon served as the hazzan of the Yad Harav Nissim Synagogue in Jerusalem, where his command of the different nuances within the Spanish and Portuguese tradition has allowed him to develop a unique repertoire.
Halfon teaches classes and workshops in both practical and theoretical aspects of the Spanish and Portuguese liturgical tradition. He also advises faculty and students on research regarding the cantillation arts in general, and the Spanish and Portuguese liturgical tradition in particular.
Today, Halfon conducts services regularly in Jerusalem and performs in recital with the Kolot HaEsnoga Singers; a male chorus he founded in 2004, dedicated to performing music from the Spanish and Portuguese tradition. In recent years he established an annual choral selichot service in the Spanish and Portuguese style that has become a fixed feature of the Jerusalem liturgical music calendar.
Among Halfon's current projects is a commission from the Society of Heshaim in London to record the entire Keriat HaTorah according to the Spanish and Portugese rite. In addition, he is recording a comprehensive set of liturgical selections for Hazmanah LaPiyyut Utfilah.
A trained classical baritone, Halfon studied voice in New York with Neil Semer and was coached by Kenneth Newbern. In Jerusalem he studied with Jay Shir.