Gaudium Award 2016

This year's honorees include:

  • Klea Blackhurst

    Klea Blackhurst

    Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, actress and singer Klea Blackhurst took New York by storm with her one-woman cabaret tribute to Ethel Merman, Everything Traffic Will Allow. The show received a Time Out New York special achievement award and is still a best-selling CD.

    Klea's tributes to composers Vernon Duke and Hoagy Carmichael were performed to sold-out audiences at Joe's Pub and Manhattan's celebrated cabaret home, The Metropolitan Room. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with Michael Feinstein in an evening devoted to the work of composer Jule Styne. Klea made her debut in London at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms, singing the role of Ado Annie in a special concert version of Oklahoma, a performance that was followed by her London Palladium presentation of Jerry Herman's Broadway. She has also performed with the Atlanta Symphony, at Jazz at Lincoln Center, at the 92nd Street Y's Lyrics and Lyricist series, at the Algonquin Hotel's legendary Oak Room, and at San Francisco's Plush Room. She also had a wonderful run directed by Jerry Lewis in his stage production of The Nutty Professor.

    Klea's recordings are available at

  • Bill Charlap

    Bill Charlap

    Born in New York City, Bill Charlap began playing piano at the age of three. His father was the Broadway composer Moose Charlap, whose credits include the musical Peter Pan. His mother, singer Sandy Stewart, was nominated for a Grammy for her early hit recording of My Coloring Book.

    Now considered one of world's premiere jazz pianists, Bill has performed with Tony Bennett, Gerry Mulligan, Phil Woods and Wynton Marsalis. He is known for his interpretations of American popular songs and has recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin.

    In 1997, he formed the Bill Charlap Trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington. He was signed to Blue Note records and has since received two Grammy nominations. Since 2004, Bill has been the artistic director of New York City's Jazz in July Festival at the 92nd Street Y. He has produced concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center and at the Hollywood Bowl.

    Bill is married to celebrated jazz pianist Renee Rosnes. In 2010, they released their CD Double Portrait. Bill and Tony Bennett are the 2015 recipients of the Grammy Award for the Best Traditional Pop Album: The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern.

  • Mary Gordon

    Mary Gordon

    Mary Gordon is an award-winning author and MacIntosh Professor of English at Barnard College. Born in Far Rockaway, New York, in 1949, she is the daughter of Anna Magliano and David Gordon, whose faith and complex histories would deeply influence Mary's fiction and memoirs.

    Mary attended Barnard College, the women's affiliate of Columbia University, where under the guidance of Professor Anne Prescott she grew in her appreciation of literature. Initially a poet, she shifted to prose while beginning her M.F.A. at Syracuse University. Her first novel, Final Payments, was published in 1978 and received critical acclaim; it was followed quickly by The Company of Women and Men and Angels. She is also the author of a collection of three novellas, entitled The Rest of Life, and Pearl, as well a personal story of her father's life, The Shadow of a Man. In 2007, she published a memoir of her mother entitled Circling My Mother, followed by Reading the Gospels in 2009.

    Mary is the recipient of an Academy Award for Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2008 she was named by the governor The New York State Writer, an honor she still holds.

  • Father Owen Lee

    Father Owen Lee

    A native of Detroit, Father Owen Lee entered the religious community of the Congregation of St. Basil in 1947. He was taught by the Basilian Fathers, as they are called, during his high school years, and when the Basilian community needed a classics teacher at the University of Toronto, Father Owen answered the call; he taught there from 1960 to 1995.

    His interest in music began at an early age and built to a “tsunami,” as he has said, when he heard a Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Wagner's Tannhäuser. He was unaware, at age 11, how this interest in opera would shape his life in important ways. In 1983, he was invited to participate in live broadcasts from the Met during intermissions, where for the next 24 years he served as pianist, commentator, and quiz panelist.

    Father Owen has written a total of 22 books on topics ranging from classics and opera to popular music and film. His book Wagner's Ring has sold thousands of copies and is regarded as the best introduction to this complex cycle of operas.

    A recipient of four honorary doctorates, Father Owen has said versatility in his work was the hallmark and joy of his Basilian vocation.

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