Tom Gordon

tom GordonProfessor Emeritus
Musicology, Ethnomusicology

B.A. (Central Missouri)
B. Mus. (Central Missouri)
M.A. (Central Missouri)
Ph.D. (Toronto)
Room: QC-2017

Tom Gordon is a pianist/musicologist with a broad range of interests that stretch from musical life in eighteenth-century Labrador to the historical avant-garde of early twentieth-century France. Among his current research projects are an exploration of the Moravian choral and instrumental music in the Inuit communities of coastal Labrador. Forthcoming from these projects are a thematic catalogue of the 250+ manuscript anthems in the mission churches and a monograph on the indigenization of the Moravian mission music by the Labrador Inuit. Gordon’s research has also informed several CBC radio documentaries, including “Three years of provisions and two French horns,” a profile of the brass band tradition in Labrador produced by Francesca Swann for Inside the Music. In 2010 he collaborated with independent filmmaker Nigel Markham on the making of a feature-length documentary on the Labrador choral tradition: Till We Meet Again (available through the National Film Board). Currently Gordon is leading a research partnership between a group of international scholars and Nunatsiavut, the Inuit self-governing territory of Labrador. Titled "Tradition and Transition Among the Labrador Inuit," this multi-year project is building a bridge between academic research and traditional knowledge through an exploration of the ancient and contemporary cultural identity of Inuit Labrador.

Gordon’s interests in European music are currently occupied by his work on the editorial board (Bärenreiter) of the Oeuvres complètes of the French composer Gabriel Fauré, for which he will be editing Fauré’s works for voice and instrumental ensemble/orchestra. Previous Fauré research resulted in his volume of essays Regarding Fauré (Gordon & Breach, 1999) and his organization of an international conference on the occasion of the composer’s sesquicentenary. Gordon is also the editor of Jean Cocteau – Evangelist of the Avant-Garde / Jean Cocteau -- Évangéliste de l’avant-garde, (Canadian University Music Review, 2001) and articles on French music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His doctoral research on Stravinsky and neo-classicism (University of Toronto, 1983) has resulted in numerous publications including sketch studies on Trois Pièces pour quatuor à cordes (Amadeus Verlag, 1994) and Piano-Rag-Music (Intersections, XXVI/1, 105).

Stravinsky research is one of several fields where Gordon’s scholarship has led to unique performance projects. In 1990 he directed a historical re-construction of the original production of Stravinsky’s l’Histoire du soldat which was revived for a tour of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2002. In 1987-88 he toured Eastern Canada with a lecture-recital/exhibition on Stravinsky's four-hand piano works and sketches (with Mary O'Keeffe). Gordon also re-constructed from sketches Stravinsky's incomplete ballet fragment David, an aborted collaboration with Jean Cocteau that found its eventual realization in Erik Satie's Parade.

As a performer Gordon is most active as a Lieder accompanist with a vast repertoire that covers the standard German, French and English art song repertoire. He has accompanied Canadian and American singers, including sopranos Caroline Schiller, Carmen Mehta, Gail Desmarais, Catherine Fitch, Shari Saunders, Michèle Gagné and Jane Leibel, mezzo-soprano Mary Ann Hart, tenors François Panneton and Brian Staufenbiel and baritones Michel Lachance and Douglas Dunsmore. In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Robert Schumann, he organized and performed with School of Music alumni in a series of concerts exploring the song cycles of both Robert and Clara Schumann. In 2003 he organized a concert series on the Lieder of Hugo Wolf in honour of the centenary of that composer’s death. In the autumn of 2001 he toured the province of Newfoundland and Labrador with a program of French vocal ensemble music with sopranos Caroline Schiller and Catherine Fitch and baritone Douglas Dunsmore. During the 1994-95 season, Gordon programmed the complete vocal works of Gabriel Fauré. Gordon’s other performance credits include frequent recordings for Radio-Canada with Ensemble Musica Nova of Sherbrooke, Québec. Notable performances have included works by George Crumb (Vox Balanaeand Makrokosmos II) and premieres of works by Andrew P. MacDonald, Jacques Desjardins and Isabelle Panneton.

Tom Gordon was Director of the School of Music at Memorial University of Newfoundland from 2000 to 2010. On his retirement as a full-professor from Memorial, Gordon was appointed a visiting professor at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto where he also served as Acting Director of the Institute for Canadian Music for the 2013-2014 academic year. At the Fall Convocation of 2014 Gordon was named the first professor emeritus at Memorial’s School of Music. Prior to coming to Memorial he was a professor and chair in the Department of Music at Bishop's University in Lennoxville, Québec (1983-2000). While at Bishop’s, Gordon served a term as Director of Centennial Theatre (1997-2000), inaugurated the popular Music Chez Nous concert series and co-founded Ensemble Musica Nova for which he served as administrative director from 1989 to 1997. Previous to his tenure at Bishop’s, Gordon was Head of Liberal Arts Studies at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University) in Toronto (1977-1983). Tom Gordon is married to harpsichordist and arts administrator, Mary O’Keeffe. Gordon and O’Keeffe have two children – neither (thankfully) a professional musician – and 4 grandchildren.