Longtime Executive Producer of Music Mountain Nicholas Gordon Passes at Age 89
One of the country's foremost chamber music impresarios Nicholas Gordon, longtime Executive Producer of Music Mountain, America's longest running Chamber Music Festival, died on October 5, 2017. With family members at his side, he passed away at the age of 89 at Manhattan's New York Hospital. Through his tireless efforts, American audiences received an unmatched opportunity to experience distinguished chamber music virtuosos and quartets from around the globe.
Mr. Gordon's passion for classical music and the genre's talented performers began at an early age. His father, the late Jacques Gordon, a virtuoso violinist and Concertmaster for Chicago Symphony orchestra (1921-1930), founded the Music Mountain festival in 1929 and Mr. Gordon spent his early summers listening to his father's quartet playing on the bucolic Music Mountain property in Falls Village, Connecticut.
Hailed by the New York Times --- "for string quartets, Music Mountain is the Place to be," the festival under Mr. Gordon's knowing hand, attracted a long list of famous string quartets and soloists. With its primary mission of education through the performance of the chamber music literature, specifically, the music for the string quartet, the list of artists who have performed in GorDon Hall over the past 88 summer seasons, reads like a veritable 'who's who' of the chamber music world.
Mr. Gordon joined the Music Mountain board in 1970 and became president in 1974, a position he held until his death. He served on the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra Media Institute from 1998-2003. For his work in promoting the performance of French Chamber players in America, the French government awarded him the decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Mr. Gordon had a long career in broadcasting, including 23 years at NBC, where he rose to Vice President, Eastern Sales, of the NBC Television Network and later, Vice President Sales NBC Radio. In 1974, he became president of the Keystone Broadcasting System, the largest and oldest non-wired radio network in America. He held that post until 1985, when he was elevated to chairman. Through his radio contacts, many of the live performances in GorDon Hall were recorded for radio and heard in all parts of the United States and around the world. He remained involved with Keystone until his death.
Prior to moving to Connecticut, Mr. Gordon lived in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in New York City, where he was active on community boards including the local planning board and the Wave Hill Center for Environmental Education. He also served on the board of St. Hilda's and St. Hugh's school. Nicholas Gordon was born on April 12, 1928, in Chicago. His father was the violinist Jacques Gordon and his mother, the late Ruth (Janeway), was an attorney. A brother, Dr. Richard S. Gordon, predeceased him. He earned a Ph.B. from The University of Chicago in 1946.
He is survived by his wife, the former Estelle Magowan, who also sits on the Music Mountain board. Mr. Gordon was married twice previously. His first marriage, to Gladys (Sack) from 1950-1976, ended in divorce. His second marriage, to Julie E. Miles in 1977, ended with her death in 2005. Mr. Gordon is also survived by three children, Catherine of Edinburgh Scotland, Susan of Princeton Junction, N.J., and Christopher of New York City. In addition, he is survived by two grandchildren.
A memorial service at Music Mountain is being planned for spring 2018.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Mr. Gordon's memory to Music Mountain at www.musicmountain.org or Music Mountain, 225 Music Mountain Road, Falls Village, CT 06031.