John H. Beck has been a member of the Eastman faculty since 1959. He received his bachelor’s degree (1955) and master’s degree (1962), as well as Performer’s Certificate from Eastman. He retired from Eastman in 2008 and continues as Professor Emeritus of Percussion and teaches a class in The History of Percussion.
Beck’s career as a performer and teacher includes posts as percussionist, timpanist, marimba soloist with the United States Marine Band (1955-59); principal percussionist with the Rochester Philharmonic (1959-62); and timpanist for the Rochester Philharmonic (1962-2002). He has made numerous solo appearances, including performances with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Philharmonia Orchestra, Syracuse Wind Ensemble, Chautauqua Band, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Corning Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Memphis State Wind Ensemble, Pennsylvania Festival Band, and Filharmonia Pomorska, Poland.
Among the honors Beck has received include being named the Mu Phi Epsilon Musician of the Year (1976); the Monroe County School Music Association Award (1996); Eastman’s Eisenhart Award for Excellence in Teaching (1997); and the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester Award for contributions to the arts (1999). He was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1999. The Percussive Arts Society presented him with an Outstanding Service Award (2002).
Since retirement in 2008, he has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the New York State School Music Association (2009), The President’s Award from Rowan University (2010), the Lifetime Achievement Award from KOSA International Percussion (2010) and the Life Time Achievement Award from Giornate della Percussione, Fermo, Italy (2010).
The John Beck Composition Prize established by Percussion Rochester, a biennial percussion festival, will be awarded as a highlight of the 2012 festival.