Duquesne University Mourns Loss of Nicholas Jordanoff
Nicholas Jordanoff, an internationally known expert in folk and ethnic music at Duquesne University, died Tuesday, March 3. He was 73.
Affiliated with Duquesne for more than 50 years, Jordanoff retired from his full-time position as director of music admissions in the Mary Pappert School of Music last summer. He continued to serve the University as an adjunct with recruitment and alumni.
Jordanoff’s vast musical and ethnic interests were reflected in his many activities. A drummer and trumpet player, he was a board member of the Pittsburgh Jazz Society and longtime member of the group. A founder of the Pittsburgh Folk Festival, he served as program director from 1961 to 1989 and became well versed in the ethnic makeup of the Pittsburgh region. His ethnic knowledge also brought him positions as escort officer and interpreter for the U.S. Department of State, and an ethnic consultant. While he was an original founder of the Pittsburgh Dance Council and involved in many civic and professional groups, his international reputation was built upon folk music. He served for 23 years as a board member of the Children’s Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh, in residence at the Mary Pappert School of Music.
A Tamburitzans Scholarship awarded in 1952 first brought Jordanoff, who is of Bulgarian heritage, to Duquesne. While performing with the group that focuses on Eastern European vocal, musical and dance traditions, he received a bachelor’s degree in business. He earned a Master of Education from Duquesne in 1961.
He returned to the Tamburitzans as president of the organization and also as award-winning artistic director of the group from 1971 to 1987, when he joined the music school.
In his lifetime, Jordanoff choreographed about 200 folk dances that were performed internationally and delivered more than 300 folk dance and folk arts workshops across the United States and Canada.
Jordanoff’s life steeped in music and performance was shared with his wife, Christine Jordanoff, director of choral organizations and professor of music education at Duquesne. They had three sons.
Among the many awards Jordanoff received were the First Order of the Medal of SS. Cyril and Methodius from the Bulgarian government, the Duquesne University President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Community Service and various honors from 24 Pittsburgh-area ethnic groups marking anniversary years of the Pittsburgh Folk Festival. Additionally, he served on the board of the Bulgarian-Macedonian National Education and Cultural Center as well as the National Folk Organization and the Steel Industry Heritage Corp.
“Nick Jordanoff was an unforgettable human being. He abundantly shared his special gift of loving life with passion and richness with his beloved family, friends and the world,” said Dean Edward Kocher of Duquesne’s Mary Pappert School of Music. “Our campus is deeply saddened over his passing. Over his career at Duquesne he touched so many people in so many ways, but it was the twinkle in his eyes, his quick wit, his warm smile and his zest for humanity that won our hearts.”
Former dean of students and faculty member at Robert Morris University (1962-1970), he also taught and coached at West Mifflin High School (1960-1962) and in Los Angeles (1958-1959).
Brusco-Falvo Funeral Home, 214 Virginia Ave., Mount Washington, will hold visitation from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 5, and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 6. A burial service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at St. Gregory Orthodox Church, 214 E. 15th Ave., in Homestead, Jordanoff’s hometown.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.