Celebrating Byron Hanson on Classical IPR

Mar 25, 2021

Byron Hanson with Carol Jantsch, then an Interlochen Arts Academy student and now principal tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra (ca. 2002)
Credit Carol Jantsch

Last week, Byron Hanson passed away at the age of 79.

Classical IPR is celebrating Hanson's music and life on the air on Thursday, March 24.

We grieve his loss along with the entire Interlochen community.

From his first summer as a student playing the baritone horn  in 1958, Hanson was a fixture at Interlochen Center for the Arts. 

Over the years, he conducted the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra and Band, served as the institution's first Director of Music for Academy and Camp, was a collaborative pianist for hundreds of musicians and also served as Interlochen's first archivist.

He was also active in the Grand Traverse Region, organizing the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City's Central United Methodist Church and directing the NMC Grand Traverse Chorale.

Byron Hanson at IPR in 2013, during the station's 50th anniversary celebration
Credit Interlochen Center for the Arts

He attended the Eastman School of Music in the 1960s, playing in the legendary Eastman Wind Ensemble under the direction of Frederick Fennell.

Composer Thom Ritter George even wrote a sonata for baritone horn and piano for Hanson when the two were classmates at Eastman.

We asked friends, colleagues and former students to share their memories of him - you'll hear those on air throughout the day.

Enjoy some of the photos that were shared with us. Click any image to view all of them as a slide show.

Many thanks to Eileen Ganter for her assistance.

Byron Hanson in 1958, his first summer as a camper at Interlochen
Credit Interlochen Center for the Arts
Byron Hanson conducting the Interlochen Arts Academy Band in the 2002-03 Academy year
Credit Interlochen Center for the Arts
Byron Hanson with Chuck Daellenbach (center) in 2013 at City Opera House. Daellenbach is a founding member of Canadian Brass and a classmate of Hanson's at Eastman.
Credit Canadian Brass
Byron Hanson coaching chamber music during the 1972-73 Arts Academy year
Credit Interlochen Center for the Arts
Flutist and Interlochen alumnus Christopher Chaffee with Byron Hanson in 2012
Credit Christopher Chaffee