Early training and work
After studies at the Sydney Conservatorium where his teachers included Gordon Watson and Robert Goode, Beebe graduated with a music degree as a harpsichord major and three performance diplomas including a Fellowship of Trinity College London. Becoming more interested in harpsichord construction, he then trained at the prominent American workshop of D. Jacques Way. In 1982 he was made the youngest ever international agent for Zuckermann Harpsichords Inc., the company founded by Wolfgang Zuckermann, inventor of the harpsichord kit. Since 1999 Beebe has been working with the French harpsichord maker Marc Ducornet and The Paris Workshop.
Beebe has scrutinized original instruments in museums and private collections, and has maintained or prepared instruments for concerts, broadcasts or recordings on five continents. He has worked closely with performers including William Christie & Les Arts Florissants, Richard Egarr, Richard Hickox, Christopher Hogwood, Igor Kipnis, Ton Koopman, Trevor Pinnock, Christophe Rousset & Les Talens Lyriques, and Colin Tilney by providing instruments and services in some of the world’s most famous performance venues like the Sydney Opera House.
In addition to his skills as a maker with more than 50 instruments bearing his name, Beebe has expertise in maintaining early keyboard instruments under adverse conditions such as the tropics. One of his instruments was transported to Thursday Island in the Torres Strait to portray Summer from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons for the Vast Productions documentary feature film 4, released in August 2007.
Beebe’s major clients include Opera Australia, the Sydney Conservatorium, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. As a guest technician, he has maintained harpsichords for Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Since 1999, he has been the resident early keyboard technician for each year’s Carmel Bach Festival in California where the Music Director is Bruno Weil and the leader the Australian violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch.
Atherton, M. (1990), Australian Made… Australian Played… — Handcrafted musical instruments from didjeridu to synthesiser, Sydney: NSWU Press
Macoboy, S. (1993), Macoboy’s Roses, Melbourne: Mallon