John H. Beck

John H. Beck was a member of the U.S. Marine Band for four years before joining the Rochester Philharmonic as principal percussionist in 1959 and becoming principal timpanist in 1962. With BM and MM degrees from the Eastman School of Music, he was the Professor of Percussion for the Percussion Department and conducted the percussion ensemble from 1959-2002. He retired in 2008 and is now Professor Emeritus of Percussion and teaches a class in the History of Percussion.
He has made solo appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Syracuse (NY) Wind Ensemble, the Chautauqua Band, Memphis State Band, Rochester Chamber Orchestra and Filharmonia Pomorska in Poland. Other performing and teaching engagements have taken him to all corners of the world including Luxembourg, Russia, Japan, Denmark, Brazil, China, Beligum, Germany, France and Poland As a recording artist, he has recorded for the CRI, Turnabout, Mark and Heritage labels.
John was instrumental in bringing the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) to Rochester in 1976 for their first international convention, at which he performed Phillip Lambro’s “”Two Pictures.”” He is a Past President of PAS and in 1999 was inducted into the prestigious PAS Hall of Fame. That same year he received an award from the Arts & Culture Council of Greater Rochester for contributions to the arts. In May 1997 he received the Eisenhart Award in recognition of distinguished teaching from the Eastman School of Music, and in May 2003 he received the Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the University of Rochester. On May 12, 2016 he received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the College of Performing Arts, Rowan University, NJ.At Elmhurst College (IL), where he has taught since 1978, he serves as director of the acclaimed Elmhurst College Jazz Band and as director of jazz studies. Under his direction, the Jazz Band has made over 30 European tours (twice at the invitation of the U.S. State Department) and has performed in jazz festivals across the world. The band regularly appears with jazz greats such as Gary Smulyan, Dennis Mackrel, Nicholas Payton, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Patti Austin, Lee Konitz, Jeff Hamilton, and Bobby Shew. The band and it’s members are frequent award winners in Downbeat Magazine’s Student Music Awards, and in 2014 the Elmhurst College Jazz Band was named by Downbeat the winner in the large jazz ensemble category for undergraduate institutions.
Beach is equally well known for his work as a publisher and composer. His company, Doug Beach Music, is one of the world’s leading publishers of educational jazz music, and each year since 1995 he has been the recipient of a Plus Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). In 1996, the Count Basie Orchestra and New York Voices recorded his arrangement of “Cottontail” on a CD that went on to win the Grammy Award for best large jazz ensemble. Other awards include a 2003 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from Elmhurst College (the College’s highest teaching award), the 2012 Faculty Merit Award and a 2015 Jazz Education Achievement Award from Downbeat Magazine.
Beach is also a highly sought-after clinician and adjudicator. He has served as a conductor, guest artist, or judge throughout the United States and in Canada, Australia, and Europe. He has conducted 18 All-State jazz ensembles and twice has served as an artist-in-residence for the Illinois Arts Council.
A Yamaha performing artist and clinician, Beach plays Yamaha trumpets and flugelhorns.Doug’s many compositions are published exclusively through Kendor Music. In 1990, the Chili Pepper Series was born. Read The Legend Of The Chili Pepper.

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