Craig Richard Weaver, born Aug. 8, 1951, died Oct. 14, 2022, in Blaine, Washington. Formerly of Portage and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Born into a richly musical family, Craig showed a talent for the cello at an early age, beginning his studies with Arthur Bachman when the family lived in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. Studied with Grace Field and Herbert Butler after the family moved to Kalamazoo and attended high school at Interlochen Arts Academy where he soloed on the Lalo Cello Concerto during the Interlochen tour. From there, Craig studied at New School of Music with Orlando Cole, then with Gordon Epperson at the University of Arizona.
Founding member of the Hanover String Quartet and the Griffes Quartet (now defunct). Cello instructor with the Philadelphia Music Academy, professor of cello and bass at SUNY and Elmira College in New York, and professor of cello, Seattle University, ultimately retiring from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Co-founder of Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival after retirement.
The list of Craig’s musical accomplishments would fill a book. At age 17, he was the soloist for the KJSO command performance before Princess Grace and Prince Rainier in the courtyard of their royal palace in Monaco. In Dallas, he was the original cellist for the Voices of Change, now acclaimed in presenting new compositions. Member of the Ft. Worth Symphony Chamber Orchestra that was part of the large ensemble. Featured on the Mike Douglas Show in July of 1976 playing a piece with Tony Randall of “The Odd Couple.” One of two cellists on Burt Bacharach’s album, “Futures,” produced by the legendary Phil Ramone, with Burt himself conducting the musicians in the studio for 15 hours.
In addition to playing in dozens of diverse orchestras and quartets learning banjo for the 1976 revival of “Porgy and Bess” (nailing the solo every time after only two weeks of banjo lessons) Craig toured with Cat Stevens and Tom Jones, played or soloed with The Carpenters, Luciano Pavarotti, Smokey Robinson, Barbra Streisand, BB King, Bobby McFerrin, Debbie Reynolds, Julie Andrews, Chris and Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, Smoky Robinson, Diana Ross . . . the list is endless. He did studio work with many artists, movie scores with Simon Boswell, multiple Disney movie scores, and the cello solo in the movie, “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”
Yet Craig’s immense musical talent was accompanied by an ever-present sense of humor and lightheartedness, a perpetual cheerfulness even through life’s most difficult challenges, as well as a deep love and caring for everyone he knew. Always on some new adventure and willing to share his joy and excitement in learning new things. Proud to be an AA sponsor for those who needed his support, and he had the biggest heart of anyone his family has ever known.
That big heart failed when congestive heart failure finally took him away from us. Although his death leaves an excruciating void in our lives, we feel him close by and are grateful for that. Craig died in Washington, where he had lived for many years, most recently in Blaine, with wife Tara Kaiyala Weaver, who survives. Also survived by his daughters Claire E. Weaver and Rebekka G. Weaver and son Conner P. Weaver, all of whom reside in Washington, and stepson Tyson (Alexis) Simmons of Indiana. Survived by sisters Pamela (Lee) Weaver Larson of Michigan and Paula J. Claxton of Florida.
There has been no funeral service. But think of Craig with a smile when you hear a soulful cello or visit the majestic mountains he loved or when you spot a friendly owl blinking down at you. Donations in Craig’s memory may be sent to Interlochen Center for the Arts, 4000 J. Maddy Pkwy., Interlochen, MI 49643.