URBANA – James Warren Beauchamp, 84, of Urbana died Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 1 p.m. at Meadowbrook Health Center, Urbana, after battling metastatic cancer.
James was born on October 17, 1937 in Highland Park, Michigan, the youngest child of Warren J. Beauchamp and Marie C. Lloyd.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Karen, and their son, Nathan Beauchamp of Redmond, Washington. Also survived by his brother, John Beauchamp of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; son Warren Beauchamp (Renée Robertson) of Hinckley; daughter, Kara Beauchamp (Jeff Walberg) of Iowa City, Iowa; son Bryan Beauchamp (Elizabeth) of Mequon, Wisconsin; grandchildren, Kai Walberg (Kate Baumler) of State College, Pennsylvania, and Grace, Christian and Benjamin Beauchamp of Mequon; and several nieces and nephews.
James was predeceased by his parents and sister, Joanne Neuman of Solvang, California.
Throughout his life, James combined his interests in electrical engineering and music. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. James developed one of the first voltage-controlled electronic music synthesizers, the Harmonic Tone Generator, which is currently housed at Sousa’s archives on campus. He had a long career at UIUC beginning as Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1965 and ending with his retirement in 1997 as Emeritus Professor of Music and Electrical and Computer Engineering. James continued to work with students until his recent illness. At UIUC, he served as Director of the School of Music’s Experimental Music Studio, the PLACOMP Music Synthesizer Project, and the Computer Music Project.
Over the course of his career, James has published dozens of professional articles and book chapters, produced numerous electronic and computer music concerts, developed sound analysis/synthesis software, and has continued to teach and mentor numerous students. His later research focused on sound analysis/synthesis, musical timbre perception, automatic music transcription, and instrumental voice separation. He was a member of the Audio Engineering Society of America and the Acoustical Society of America.
James was an amateur trumpet and piano performer, Australian Jazz Quartet aficionado, avid tennis player, dedicated conservationist and occasional hiker. He will be remembered as the family historian; a supportive father throughout chess tournaments, orchestra concerts and tennis matches; and like a loving husband. Jim treasured his relationships with his colleagues, students, friends, neighbors and family.
A private family celebration of James’ life will be held at Allerton Park in the first week of June.