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Michael Cameron Obituary (1959 – 2022) – Glens Falls, NY

Michael Joseph Cameron

July 13, 1959 – July 13, 2022

CHICAGO, IL – Michael Joseph Cameron, a prominent classical musician and professor, arranger, music critic, and publisher, died peacefully at his Chicago home surrounded by family members on July 13, 2022 his 63rd birthday, following a long illness.

Born July 13, 1959, in St. Elizabeth Hospital, Utica, NY, Michael was the sixth child of Margaret and Raymond Cameron. He grew up in Hudson Falls, NY, where he graduated from Hudson Falls High School in 1977 with multiple academic and athletic honors. In junior high school, he began studying double bass with HFHS string teacher and orchestral director Steve Parsons and started a four-year engagement with the Albany Symphony in 1976. Michael studied with renowned bass teacher Murray Grodner at Indiana University and graduated in 1983 with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees, and a Certificate of Performance.

Michael held academic appointments at West Texas State University 1983-84, at Baylor University 1984-86, and finally joined the esteemed School of Music faculty at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1986, where he remained for the rest of his professional career .

Alongside his double bass studio, Michael taught undergraduate and graduate courses on chamber music, strings literature and pedagogy, and performing arts criticism, and he served several tenures as Director of Graduate Studies and as Chair of the String Division.

A sought-after performance teacher, has given numerous Master classes and recitals at major music schools throughout the United States and internationally. UICU promoted him to Associate Professor in 1993 and to Full Professor in 2001.

After 36 years of teaching, performing, mentoring and administrative and governance service to UICU, Michael retired in 2021. His teaching legacy encompasses top double bass professors at major conservatories and universities throughout the world, and dedicated music educators and orchestral directors. In 1996, Michael was appointed National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Visiting Professor at SUNY Potsdam, and he served as Board Member of the International Society of Bassists.

A double bass virtuoso, Michael was Principal Bass of the Amarillo Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, and lastly the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra. Supporting contemporary music, from 2000-06 he performed five European tours with Ensemble Modern, and in Chicago, Michael played several years with the innovative Ciosoni Trio. His distinguished performance history and reputation of him as an interpreter and advocate of contemporary music for double bass significantly expanded the repertoire with nearly 100 premieres, many dedicated to or commissioned by him, and including works by Ben Johnston and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Michael’s solo and ensemble playing is featured on 25 recordings.

Always an incisive writer, around 2000 Michael became a free-lance music writer and began publishing reviews of live performances, recordings, and composer interviews. These include a 2000-09 series of over 100 music reviews for the Chicago Tribune, and over 300 reviews of CDs, performances, and composer interviews published in Chicago Classical Review, Fanfare, Journal for the International Society of Bassists, Musical America, American String Teachers, and Bass World.

In 2015 he launched the Chicago Music Report blog featuring his and others’ music reviews with a special focus on Ravinia’s Midwest Young Artists Conservatory. A pioneering promoter of music for the double bass, Michael founded Bass Scores Editions offering more than 50 of his arrangements and editions of it.

Michael was a beloved son, brother, partner, uncle, teacher, and friend to many. He was also a generous gourmet cook. His family and friends of him (and pet dogs) were treated through the years to delicious holiday and everyday meals he prepared.

Michael leaves behind five siblings: Barbara Brownell of Orlando, FL, John Cameron of Gansevoort, NY, Mary Cameron of Delray Beach, FL, Dan Cameron of New York City, and Theresa Cameron of Alexandria, VA; and four brothers-in-law. He is lovingly remembered by his eight nieces and nephews: Annette Plewniak, Lynette Cameron, Patrick Ortiz, Madeline Ortiz, Dave Hartung, Deborah Brownell, Aisha Thapaliya and Deven Thapaliya; two grand-nieces; and numerous cousins. His parents predeceased him, Raymond in 2003 and Margaret in 2011, and his sister Susan died February 2020.

A Celebration of Michael’s Life will be held at the Strand Theater in Hudson Falls, NY on Sunday, August 21, 2022 from 10:00-11:30 am, followed by a reception at the theater.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Strand Theater in Hudson Falls, NY, and to Unity Palliative Care and Hospice, Chicago, IL.

Published by Post-Star on Jul. 24, 2022.

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