Charles H. Chapman, 60, a longtime professor of guitar at the Berklee College of Music, passed away July 15, 2011, following a long and courageous battle with a brain tumor.
Born in Trenton, N.J., Charles was fascinated by the guitar at an early age, and that fascination led him to Berklee College of Music. After graduation he was asked to join the faculty where he remained for 31 years.
Charles and his wife had been vacationing in Boothbay Harbor for more than 25 years. When Charles was unable to return to teaching following his diagnoses, he retired to Boothbay Harbor in 2003.
A world-class musician and recording artist, Charles was known as an old school jazz player, sharing the stage at guitar festivals and shows with such luminaries as Martin Taylor, Kenny Burrell, Joe Negri, Jimmy Bruno, Frank Vignola, and John Pisano.
As an author, he wrote nine books on guitar technique, repertoire and improvisation, and recorded the CDs that accompanied William Leavitt’s “Berklee Modern Method for Guitar” series.
As a music journalist he interview many of the world’s best known guitar players, writing more than 500 articles for music publications including Downbeat, Just Jazz Guitar, Guitar Player, and Twentieth Century Guitar.
Charles was the recipient of numerous awards honoring his music and teaching efforts including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kirkmichael International Guitar Festival in Kirkmichael, Scotland. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts awarded him a Meritorious Achievement Citation in recognition of his extraordinary achievements as a musician, writer and educator. The state of Maine also honored him for his distinguished career as a teacher, performer and writer, and for his contribution to music education.
After a career that spanned nearly four decades Charles will be remembered by many for his music, writing and certainly by his former students. To quote just one of those former students, “Charlie left a rich legacy for all of us.”
*Originally published in the Herald Gazette
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