Message from the Honorary Co-Chairs
Partners in life, we have been fortunate – both together and individually –to be able to contribute to the musical life of the communities we have called home. Our arrival in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador in 2000 coincided with the first discussions that led the creation of Tuckamore. In fact, legend has it that the name “Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival” emerged in the wee hours of a very social night around our kitchen table. Of course, the spectacular phenomenon that Tuckamore has become, has little to do with its name and everything to do with the vision and leadership of its artistic directors, Nancy Dahn and Tim Steeves, as well as the extraordinary commitment of its Board of Directors and professional staff. Having watched Tuckamore grow from the germ of an idea into Atlantic Canada’s premier chamber music festival, we are absolutely thrilled to accept the invitation to serve as Tuckamore’s new Honourary Co-Chairs. The leadership and generous counsel provided by Janet Gardiner, Tuckamore’s founding Honourary Chair, is a model we will aspire to equal. But we hope, as well, that we can support Tuckamore in new ways that take it to new heights. Most of all, we look forward to enjoying with you the exceptional music, the thrilling mentorship, the extraordinary artistry that Tuckamore brings to us all.
—Mary O’Keeffe and Tom Gordon
Retired harpsichordist and arts administrator, Mary O’Keeffe has been the founder or manager of orchestras, ensembles and festivals in Quebec and in Newfoundland. Soon after her move to this province, Mary was the founding manager for the inaugural edition of the Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival which took place in 2001. She then became operations manager of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra for a few years but returned to the Tuckamore Festival in 2008 and 2009. Concurrently, she co-founded and managed the Hot Earth Ensemble which specialized in music of the baroque era. In Quebec, Mary’s administrative skills were honed as founding manager of the Orchestre de chambre de l’Estrie, general manager of the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra for many years, and manager of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival for one season.
Mary has performed in solo and chamber music recitals and has appeared as soloist with the NSO Sinfonia and the Orchestre de chambre de l’Estrie. Her concerts have been broadcast on Musicraft, Two New Hours; The Signal, and Concerts on Demand on CBC Radio. Mary obtained a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance and a Master’s Degree in Harpsichord Performance from McGill where she studied with Hank Knox and Luc Beauséjour.
Since her retirement, Mary has been a volunteer with the Association for New Canadians, and serves on the board of the YWCA. She has also been involved with the St. John’s Women’s Centre, Plan Canada and Amnesty International for many years.
Facilitating the brilliant ideas of his colleagues, witnessing the excitement of young musicians’ growth into their professional lives, engaging with communities that are inextricably defined by the music they make – these have been the rewards of Tom Gordon’s forty-plus year career as a university administrator and musician. Now a professor emeritus, Gordon retired from Memorial University’s School of Music in 2013. Since that time, the focus of his attention has been collaborative research on cultural sustainability with the Nunatsiavut Government (the Inuit self-governing territory of Labrador).
A musicologist by training, Gordon began his career as the Chair of Liberal Arts Studies at the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University). Eight years of working in a stimulating visual arts milieu was followed by seventeen years as a faculty member and music department chair at Bishop’s University in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. While in Quebec, Gordon served a term as Director of Centennial Theatre, held a cross-appointment at l’Université de Sherbrooke and co-founded Ensemble Musica Nova, a contemporary music ensemble now in its 25th year.
Tom fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving to St. John’s during the summer of 2000 to join the Newfoundland and Labrador music community as director of Memorial’s dynamic School of Music. During his tenure, the school grew dramatically; introduced its first graduate programs in performance, pedagogy and ethnomusicology; saw the construction of Suncor Energy Hall and the renovation of D. F. Cook Hall; and continued to launch the careers of many of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most remarkable musicians. Gordon was appointed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council in 2007, serving as its chair from 2011-2013. A founding member of Business and the Arts Newfoundland and Labrador, Gordon has served on numerous other boards and advisory groups across the province and the country.
Having begun his musical life as a pianist, Tom never strayed far from the bench and has continued to perform, taking special pleasure in accompanying singers in art song repertoire, as well as in exploring contemporary music. More recently, he has been working with Inuit musicians from Labrador to document and promote their unique msical heritage, collaborating in the production of the NFB documentary Till We Meet Again, as well as an ongoing series of CDs by Labrador Inuit musicians.