Concordia University

In memoriam: Donald Habib

August 10, 2018
By Andy Murdoch

Habib-Scan-466-620 Photo courtesy of

The Concordia community mourns the loss of Donald ‘Don’ Habib (1935-2018), a private study teacher and part-time faculty member in the Department of Music who specialized in improvisation, double bass and electric bass.

He started teaching part-time in 1979, specializing in jazz studies, and officially retired in 2003.  During the mid-1980s he also worked as a full-time assistant professor in the Department of Music.

“He was a gifted and talented bass player and a thoughtful and well-respected teacher, both on the double bass, and in the classroom. His humor was dry; his personality was always warm. He was always a very personable gentleman,” says Kevin Austin, professor of electroacoustic studies who worked alongside him.

Highly respected musician in Montreal's jazz scene

Habib-Scan-111-620 Photo courtesy of

Don studied at the Conservatoire de Musique et d’Art Dramatique de la Province de Québec, the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester and in private study with Fred Zimmerman of the New York Philharmonic.

He was best known as a practicing musician, composer-arranger, conductor and music consultant, doing commercial work in television, radio and film in Montreal, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles.

He was a well-known and highly respected bass player in the Montreal and Canadian jazz world.

He passed away April 17, 2018 and is missed by former students and colleagues alike.

'Don continued to surprise and impress'

Former student Dan Romano (BFA 02, GrDip 03) remembers his former teacher and friend:

"I met Don Habib in the Spring of 1997 at Concordia’s music audition. He became my bass teacher."

"He pushed me out of my shell and expertly guided me through the subtleties of growing as a bass player, a musician, and as a person. He was a gentle and warm person, but as a teacher, also had the capacity to push me to my limits, and often beyond. But, he knew that I could handle these challenges well before I knew. These experiences have shaped my will to push forward in present day, despite the challenges of the moment."

"Our relationship eventually shifted from teacher/student to that of friends. I was over at his place one evening in 2012, and he had me listen to a composition he was working on. After a few minutes, I recall being stunned at the craftsmanship, and somewhat overwhelmed. Despite all of the impressive traits and accomplishments that I knew about Don, he continued to surprise and impress."

"Don is an amazing person and having met him often makes me reflect on my good fortune. I am so grateful to him for having shared his wisdom, experience, and friendship."

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