Musician, composer, and Professor Emeritus of music Don Chamberlain died on Jan. 11. He was 61.
Chamberlain, known as “Doc” to his students, taught music at Cornell College from 1994 until his retirement in 2012. He was an accomplished composer, a professional musician, and a beloved professor. He was deeply involved in music performance on campus, and was the center of both the study of jazz music on campus and its performance as a living art form.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music and a doctor of musical arts in composition from the University of Texas-Austin.
In addition to teaching and leading the college’s jazz ensemble, Chamberlain was involved in the musical life of students. He sponsored Octave, the longstanding Living and Learning Community dedicated to music, and he led a course on jazz and jazz performance that traveled down the Mississippi from Iowa to New Orleans, performing at various venues along the way. Students remembered him as a challenging and engaging teacher and a compassionate adviser who was deeply invested in the success of his students.
Chamberlain is survived by his wife, Barbara Lau, and two daughters.