Published: Jan. 19, 2023 By

This month, the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music lost a cherished colleague and treasured friend. Associate Professor of Violin Charles “Chas” Wetherbee, 56, passed away on Jan. 9 after a courageous fight against cancer.

“Our hearts are heavy,” says College of Music Dean John Davis. “Chas was a beloved member of our faculty since 2012. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Having studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, Wetherbee brought to the College of Music a wealth of expertise and experience from his varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral concertmaster, teacher, coach and collaborator. He performed throughout the world—including Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Canada, Mexico and across the United States—and at many international music festivals. 

A devoted chamber musician, Wetherbee was first violinist of the highly respected Carpe Diem String Quartet with whom he regularly toured. He also served as concertmaster of the Boulder Philharmonic. Wetherbee was scheduled to perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan. 22. That concert will now be dedicated to his memory. As well, the College of Music's next Faculty Tuesdays recital on Jan. 24 will feature Professor of Piano David Korevaar in a program presented in Wetherbee's memory.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Wetherbee gave his first performances at age 6. He made his debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under Symon Bychkov and went on to perform with the National Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovitch—as well as the Kyoto Symphony and Japan Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogotá, the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra and the National Repertory Orchestra, among others. As a recording artist, he was represented on Naxos, Seize the Music Records, Weasel Records and Vienna Modern Classics, as well as the Cascade labels; he was also featured on a recording with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra playing Jules Massenet’s soaring “Meditation” from Thaïs. Learn more about Wetherbee’s remarkable professional achievements

The Washington Post described Chas as “a consummate artist … with flawless technique.” But, according to Davis, that’s only part of his legacy. “He was also a consummate Mensch, widely known and loved for his kindness, enthusiasm, unwavering optimism and overall graciousness,” he says. “I know we’ll all miss his artistry, his humanity, his friendship and his ready, sparkling smile. And I know we all share in the grief of his wife, Karina, and their three children.”

See more tributes to Chas Whetherbee.