Donald Hunsberger is conductor emeritus of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, having served as its music director from 1965 to 2002. He also holds the title professor emeritus of conducting and ensembles at Eastman, where he served for many years as chair of the conducting and ensembles department.
Under his leadership, the Eastman Wind Ensemble continued its development as an international performance model in the creation of numerous new works for the wind band, providing a prime example of contemporary performance techniques as demonstrated on numerous recordings on Sony Classics, CBS Masterworks, Mercury Records, DGG Records, Philips, and Decca among others. In 1987 his scores and recording of Carnaval featuring Wynton Marsalis with the Eastman Wind Ensemble were nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Solo Performance with Orchestra category. His most recent recording project with the EWE is a three-CD set (The Eastman Wind Ensemble at 50-DHWL 001CD-WBP) celebrating its 50th anniversary. Under Hunsberger’s direction the EWE performed on six tours of Japan and Taiwan between 1990 and 2000, and one throughout Japan and Southeast Asia in 1978 for the Kambara Agency and the U.S. State Department.
In addition to performing over 100 premiere performances, Hunsberger had been involved in writing projects including the books The Wind Ensemble and Its Repertoire (Warner Bros. Pub.), The Art of Conducting (with Roy Ernst, Random House), The Emory Remington Warmup Studies (Accura Music), and numerous articles published in educational journals. He has been recognized in publications for his innovative scoring techniques for varying instrumentations of the contemporary wind band. His research into the history and development of scoring for wind bands in America has led to numerous articles in WindWorks, a journal for wind conductors, performers and composers.
He has been the recipient of a number of awards for research (Homespun America: The National Association for State and Local Historians), pedagogy (the Eastman Alumni Teaching Award and Herbert Eisenhart Award; Wiley Housewright Fellow, Florida State University), and performance (the Crystal Award from the Asahi Broadcasting Company, Osaka, Japan; the Ehud Eziel Award, Jerusalem, Israel).
He is a past president of the College Band Directors National Association and has served as a member of the boards of CBDNA, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Conductor’s Guild.
In the orchestral world Hunsberger has created and conducted performances of orchestral accompaniments to over 18 silent films with 50 orchestras including the National, San Francisco, Houston, Vancouver, Utah, Virginia, San Diego, Syracuse and North Carolina Symphony Orchestras, and the Rochester, Buffalo, and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestras among others.