We are sad to announce the passing of Donald Hunsberger, a legendary conductor and respected figure in the world of wind ensembles. Don, 91, departed from this life on Sunday, November 5, 2023. Not only did he make legendary contributions to music and conducting, but people adored him as a friend, mentor, and role model.
Don’s connections at the Eastman School of Music were extensive and dated back many years. From 1965 to 2002, he served as the director of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, directing the ensemble and making a significant impact on the music industry overall. But his relationship with Eastman extends back before he became a director. Don started his lengthy relationship with the university in 1954 when he graduated with a Bachelor of Music.
At Eastman, he pursued more education, graduating with a Master of Music in 1959 and a Doctor of Musical Arts in 1963—the highest honor he could have received for his devotion to the school and music. Don’s enthusiasm for Eastman and his contributions extended much beyond the scope of his role as director. He was still very much associated with the school after he retired, serving as a mentor and friend to many and an inspiration to everyone.
He was a buddy who had a lasting impression on everyone he encountered, not just a conductor. The Eastman neighborhood was not the only one touched by Don Hunsberger. He was a bright example of what may be accomplished in the fields of teaching and leading wind ensembles.
His boundless energy, dedication to education, and passion for music will have a lasting impact on musicians in the future. The music business is in mourning for a true titan, but comfort may be found in Don Hunsberger’s amazing collection of work. Although he will be greatly missed, his legacy will live on thanks to the music he created, the people he inspired, and the love he provided.