Gordon Kushner | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Gordon Kushner

Gordon Kushner (b George Gershon Kushnir). Pianist, conductor, teacher, b Winnipeg 25 May 1916; d Toronto 8 Sep 2007; LRSM 1938, hon fellowship (RCM) 1991.

Kushner, Gordon

Gordon Kushner (b George Gershon Kushnir). Pianist, conductor, teacher, b Winnipeg 25 May 1916; d Toronto 8 Sep 2007; LRSM 1938, hon fellowship (RCM) 1991. A pupil in Winnipeg of Myrtle Ruttan Patterson (piano) and Gwendda Owen Davies (theory), Gordon Kushner appeared with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 1940 playing the Schumann piano concerto. He formed with Neil Chotem a piano duo that broadcast 1940-2 on CBC radio. After serving as a bandsman in the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II, he toured Central and South America in 1946 as accompanist to the contralto Portia White. That year, he resumed his studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music in piano with Lubka Kolessa and conducting and theory with John Weinzweig.

Kushner was choir director at Beth Tzedec Synagogue in Toronto 1948-99. He composed several choral settings for its sabbath service. He joined the education and cultural committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1950 and became co-chairman of its central region music committee in 1967. He inaugurated the YMHA Community Music School in Toronto in 1964.

Television and Recording
Gordon Kushner worked at the CBC as assistant to Jack Kane and directed the music for several of Norman Campbell's TV productions and musicals and for the show The Barris Beat. He was also seen conducting his Gordon Kushner Singers on various TV shows 1961-2. In 1956 he was accompanist for Charles Jordan and Joyce Sullivan on the recording Folk Songs of Canada (Waterloo CSPS 858 1971).

Gordon Kushner taught 1963-73 at the University of Toronto and studied European methods of elementary music education on a Canada Council grant in 1967. He began teaching at the Royal Conservatory of Music Summer School in 1963 and was appointed its director in 1969. He became administrative assistant to the principal of the RCM in 1973 and served as acting principal in 1978, vice-principal 1978-81, acting vice-principal 1984-6, and acting principal 1988-91. He continued to teach piano at the RCM during these appointments. Kushner served 1973-8 as the first president of the Kodály Institute of Canada. He received the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association's special teacher award in 2000.

See also Discography for Albert Pratz.

"Everybody 'sing?'," Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Associations - Newsbulletin, May 1968

Challenge yourself - take the CC Quiz!

The Canadian Encyclopedia is a project of Historica Canada, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization devoted to teaching Canadians more about our shared country.  We also produce the Heritage Minutes and other programs. If you believe all Canadians should have access to free, impartial, fact-checked, regularly updated information about Canada’s history and culture in both official languages, please consider donating today. All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt.

Book a Speaker