John R. Beck, is the principal percussionist of the Winston-Salem Symphony and teaches at the UNC School of the Arts and Wake Forest University. He also performs with the Brass Band of Battle Creek and the Philidor Percussion Group. His professional career began in the United States Marine Band, and for 10 years he performed regularly with the National and Baltimore Symphonies, Washington and Baltimore Operas, and the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center.
John R. Beck, Percussionist
John R. Beck is the principal percussionist of the Winston-Salem Symphony and he teaches at the UNC School of the Arts and Wake Forest University. He regularly performs with the Brass Band of Battle Creek and the Philidor Percussion Group. His career began as a member of the United States Marine Band, and for 10 years he performed regularly with the National and Baltimore Symphonies, Washington and Baltimore Operas, and the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center.
From Former UNCSA Students...
“Mr. Beck helped me take the skills learned in my previous training to a new level and provided new insights to approach music not only from a technical standpoint, but also intellectually. Using his knowledge from his years of experience as a professional musician, Mr. Beck instilled in me the ability to perform in all situations in the most professional manner.”
– Alex MM
“My experience in the percussion program was incredibly positive; it was wonderful in the fullest sense. Mr. Beck pushed all of us to take our studies seriously, provided endless opportunities to grow and learn, and facilitated a deep camaraderie amongst the studio and with his students that persists nearly a decade later. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience for me and my peers.” – John HS
“John R. Beck's experience and thoughtfulness were immensely helpful in my college application process.” – David HS
Clinic and Performance Schedule
November 9 - PASIC 17 clinic with Bill Cahn, John Fitzgerald, Peter Erskine, Peter Alan Hussey, and Brian Prechtl
November 18 - American Music Therapy Association national conference clinic with Peter Allan Hussey, anna provo, and Nicole Steele.
December 2 - Xylophone Soloist with the Brass Band of Battle Creek - Battle Creek, MI
December 20 - Xylophone Soloist at Midwest Clinic with the Brass Band of Battle Creek - Chicago
Midwest Clinic Program Notes:
In the early 20th century, brass bands and concert bands in England and the United States often featured the xylophone as a solo instrument, in addition to the cornet, euphonium, or trombone. The xylophone in particular was used extensively for early recording because its sharp attack reproduced more accurately than other instruments on wax cylinders and 78s. The visual nature of the xylophone was also particularly well suited for vaudeville novelty numbers, and it was a popular solo instrument with bands in dance halls in the 1920's and 30's.
Many xylophone soloists became popular concert and recording artists, the most famous among them today is George Hamilton Green. However, it was his older brother Joe who was the most well known performer of the era during his four years touring with John Philip Sousa. The xylophone soloists in the Sousa Band played transcriptions of concert overtures or other classical tunes for audiences around the world. A visit to your town by the Sousa Band was a must see event.
Our percussion section would like to pay tribute to these early percussion pioneers with an arrangement of Joe Green's "Xylophonia" written some time in the 1920s after he left the Sousa Band. We begin with Green's 1937 recording with Milt Herth on Hammond Organ. (Dave Coash, Dave Hardman, Alison Shaw, John R. Beck)