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Hershel Gordon, 82, Phil​adelphia Orchestra Cellist

July 8, 2010
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Hershel Gordon

Hershel Gordon (Gorodetzky), 82, a former Philadelphia Orchestra cellist, died July 1. He was born in Philadelphia.

A graduate of Central High School, Gordon began to study the cello at the age of 8. He graduated from Curtis Institute of Music in 1950.

He served in the U.S. Army Tank Corps in France and Germany between 1945 and 1947. When the war ended, he was transferred to the Glenn Miller Band, which was stationed at Special Service Headquarters in Bad Schwalbach, Germany, and upon his discharge from the Army, he returned to Philadelphia and Curtis.

Gordon was accepted into the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1948, while still attending Curtis. During his tenure with the orchestra, he became the cellist of the orchestra's "Stringart Quartet" and was a recipient of the C. Hartman Kuhn Award for Excellence in Performing.

In 1956, Gordon left the orchestra to pursue a career in business. After taking courses at the University of Pennsylvania, American Management Association and Colgate University, he entered into the field of electronics, soon becoming executive vice president of Elco Corp. He later became a sales representative for many large audiovisual and electronics firms, ultimately becoming international sales manager for Wiko Inc. of Chicago.

During this time, having never lost his passion for music, Gordon joined the Reading Symphony, where he served as first cellist for 15 years. Behind the scenes, he was active with the Board of Director's Music Committee and chaired the Orchestra Committee, where he negotiated the musician's contracts.

From 1997 to 2004, Gordon served as president of the Philadelphia Orchestra Retirees and Friends, during which time he started a successful fundraising project in which tickets for orchestra rehearsals were sold to the public to benefit orchestra retirees.

Gordon taught continuing-education classes in music appreciation at Temple University (Ambler) and Arcadia University. As part of the RSVP Program, he taught courses in economics to senior high school students.

He was an active member of Beth Tikvah-B'nai Jeshurun in Erdenheim, and served as president for almost five years, during which time he helped facilitate the merger of Beth Tikvah with B'nai Jeshurun in Erdenheim and oversaw the renovation of the building. He was instrumental in raising funds for the Jewish National Fund, Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds and the Anti-Defamation League.

Gordon is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Gloria Fox; daughters Ellen Klein and Wendy Gordon; son David Gordon; brother Carl Gorodetzky; and three grandchildren.

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