Born in 1891 or 1894 in Ostrówce, Poland (then Russia), he was so successful already as a boy soprano that a choir leader offered to take him
with a few other talented boys on a concert tour to London. This was a scam, and the choir leader in fact a human trafficker;
seven-year-old Shlisky ended up in Toronto as a virtually enslaved synagogue choir boy.
A worshipper had pity with him, helped him escape, and gave him a shelter and regular employment at his scrap dealing.
At age 18, Shlisky was well-off enough to have his father come to Canada and join him; at 23, he graduated from the Toronto
He spent his career as a cantor almost exclusively in New York City, at various synagogues, gaining huge success.
As early as 1934, he had a stroke, and remained paralyzed for the rest of his life; he died in 1955.
He is said to have sung opera with the San Carlo Opera Company, but it could never be proved and will likely be a legend;
another version of the story has it that he had signed a contract with them, but didn't appear on stage in the end.
He was certainly one of the most exciting and virtuoso cantors of all time, a purely lyrical tenor voice with an absolutely
Reference 1, reference 2: www.newyorkimages.com (defunct),
reference 3, reference 4, reference 5