Charles Jordan

Charles Jordan (b Jack Wiseman). Baritone, teacher, b Montreal 3 Apr 1915, d Toronto 27 Jun 1986. His father, George Wiseman, was an amateur tenor soloist with choirs in Russia.

Jordan, Charles

Charles Jordan (b Jack Wiseman). Baritone, teacher, b Montreal 3 Apr 1915, d Toronto 27 Jun 1986. His father, George Wiseman, was an amateur tenor soloist with choirs in Russia. The younger Wiseman made his radio debut in 1937 as Charles Jourdan, singing French songs under that name for a year on CKAC, Montreal. While performing 1937-40 on that station and with the CBC radio orchestras of Lucio Agostini and Allan McIver, he studied voice with Adrienne Bourassa. After he moved to Toronto in 1940 he sang on CBC and CFRB radio and continued his studies with Albert Whitehead (voice, at the TCM 1941-3) and Louis Waizman (theory, privately 1942-3). At about this time he participated in CBC radio broadcasts of several oratorios and operas, mainly of Purcell and Handel (including the latter's Acis and Galatea).

Jordan moved in 1944 to New York but soon began commuting back to Toronto. In New York he sang on the radio programs 'Sweetwood Serenade' (NBC) and 'Sunday Night Serenade' (MBS) and was also heard on the ABC and CBS networks. In Toronto he sang in Messiah in 1948 with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and was a regular performer 1948-53 on CBC radio's 'C.G.E. Showtime' with the Leslie Bell Singers. His work as a voice teacher began in 1947 in New York and continued for more than 30 years following his permanent return in 1950 to Toronto. There he taught voice production to the actors Susan Clark, Lorne Greene, and William Shatner, among others.

Jordan himself was active in drama, especially on CBC radio's 'Stage' series and on TV - eg, the CBC TV production of The Dybbuk, for which he also composed and conducted religious chants. In 1967 he became second cantor at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. He was also active in the wider artistic community as one of the co-founders of ACTRA and an initiator of Arts for Peace.

Noted for the adroitness with which he could adapt his singing to different styles of music, Jordan recorded songs by John Beckwith and Maurice Blackburn (1951, RCI 36, with Leo Barkin, piano) and Folk Songs of Canada (1956, Hallmark S-3, with the singer Joyce Sullivan, the pianist Gordon Kushner, and the guitarist Stan Wilson). He also participated in Canadian Folk Songs: A Centennial Collection (5-ACM-39). After his death, the Charles Jordan Memorial Trust Fund was established under the aegis of the Institute of Canadian Music at the University of Toronto to provide an annual grant for the performance and research of Canadian music.

See also Marc Jordan (his son).