Musicians mourn the passing of Eastman conductor Donald Hunsberger
A Rochester conductor whose recordings inspired generations of musicians around the globe has died. Donald Hunsberger passed away on Sunday, November 5th. He was 91 years old.
In an interview with WXXI's Evan Dawson in 2015, Hunsberger said he trusted that the students he worked with would enrich their communities whether or not making music became their life's work.
With innovative recordings and international tours, Hunsberger helped spread enthusiasm for the wind ensemble around the world.
The first wind ensemble was created in Rochester at the Eastman School of Music in 1952. It redefined the beauty of wind music and sparked a new body of repertoire. During his tenure as the leader of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Don Hunsberger took the group to new heights and inspired a new generation of students.
"The thing that I learned most from him is professionalism and integrity in the field of teaching and performing," remembered Mark Davis Scatterday, Hunsberger's former student and colleague who now leads the group at Eastman.
Scatterday said he loved him like a father. He credits his own success in part to Hunsberger's example. "That's Don in a nutshell: the consummate professional with such great integrity that you would just trust what he said."
The rest of the Eastman Wind Ensemble's 2023-2024 season will be dedicated to Hunsberger's memory.
Hear more from Scatterday on the conductor's life and legacy in an interview with WXXI's Brenda Tremblay.
In a statement announcing his passing, Eastman School Dean Jamal Rossi wrote, "He and his wife Polly remained very involved in the life of our school since his retirement 20 years ago. While Donald Hunsberger was a titan in the world of wind ensembles and conducting, he was always a good friend to so many of our colleagues and his former students."