Guy Beck

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Guy L. Beck is a scholar, author, musician, educator, historian of religions, and musicologist. A Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Oxford University, UK), he is Lecturer in Philosophy, Religious Studies and Asian Studies at Tulane University, and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Loyola University New Orleans.

As a scholar and historian of religion, Guy Beck is the first to publish a comprehensive study of the nature and function of sacred sound (Nada-Brahman) in the Hindu religion, which was developed by applying the category of 'sonic theology'. In a sequel work, he has provided the first extensive analysis of ritual and music in Hinduism through the paradigm of 'sonic liturgy'. As an educator, he has created the first college textbook on music in the major world religions with an accompanying CD of recordings. As a musician, Beck is the first American performer of Hindustani vocal music, the first to earn a vocal music degree in India, and the first to perform vocal music in an all-India conference of Hindustani classical music. As a musicologist, he has produced the first and most complete collection of field recordings, translations, and annotations of the hymns and religious songs of the Radhavallabha Sampradaya, a Vaishnava or Krishna sect based in Vrindavan in northern India.[citation needed]


Born in New York City as Guy Rice Sincock on 3 August 1948, Beck was brought up in a musical family in the Forest Hills area. With English roots on his father's side extending back to the 17th century, and Swedish on his mother's side, in Minneapolis, he was exposed to classical and popular music from an early age from his natural father, Harold Rice Sincock (1915–1994) a noted New York pianist, vocalist, and vocal arranger for Broadway and night club acts in the 1940s and 1950s. Known professionally as Harold Cooke or Harold Cook, Guy's father worked for composer Harold Arlen (Wizard of Oz) in Broadway shows (Hooray For What?), accompanied a young Judy Garland, and did vocal arrangements for Kay Thompson and songstress Kate Smith ("God Bless America"). He was the vocal arranger for the 1940 Broadway musical Two For the Show, starring Betty Hutton and Eve Arden, which introduced the popular standard, "How High the Moon," sung by Alfred Drake. As a vocalist, Harold sang in several quartets including the one known as "The Martins" with composer Hugh Martin ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas") and lyricist Ralph Blane.

After serving in the Navy in WWII, Mr. Cooke (Guy's father) was featured as staff pianist and master of ceremonies at the Blue Angel night club in Manhattan where he used to accompany celebrity singers, including Pearl Bailey, Kaye Ballard, Russell Nype, Andy Williams, and the young Harry Belafonte. As a composer, he wrote the popular, "Moonrise," "People Like You," and "It's April Again," the latter song being recorded and broadcast on radio by friend and mentor, piano legend Cy Walter, also from Minneapolis. His song "People Like You" was featured in the 1951 film, Casa Manana, starring Robert Clarke. Inspired and taught by his father, Guy developed a professional piano style of his own as he played several venues in Syracuse in the 1980s, including forming a jazz trio, which led to his position as lobby pianist at the Hotel Syracuse (1989-1990). His repertoire included many songs of the Syracuse-born Oscar-winning composer Jimmy Van Heusen. While in New Orleans (since 1995), Beck played in the French Quarter for several years at Mr. B's Bistro and the Pelican Club, incorporating blues and jazz elements into his playing.[citation needed]

From 1958 to 1966, changing his name to Guy Leon Beck, Guy lived in the Syracuse area with his mother (interior designer Dale Hanson Beck) and adoptive father, George Anthony Beck (1908–1977), FIDSA (Fellow, Industrial Designer's Society of America), leading industrial designer, manager at General Electric Company, and president of George A. Beck Associates. Here he received formal training in choral singing from Alan A. Allen while attending Fayetteville-Manlius High School, and studied classical piano under Prof. George Mulfinger (Syracuse University) for several years. Prof. Mulfinger had studied in Germany under Emil Von Sauer, a pupil of Franz Liszt. As a teenager Guy was absorbed in the music of Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, and Debussy. He also sang and played bass guitar and keyboards in local combos. From 1966–1970, he attended the University of Denver, where he studied social sciences, economics, philosophy, music, and religion. As a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, he was music arranger for the 1967 Homecoming performance of the musical, Showboat. During the summer of 1969, Guy worked as a management trainee in a shipping company in Cape Town, South Africa, sponsored by the AIESEC student-exchange program. While witnessing first-hand the injustices of the South African apartheid system, he experienced a life-changing exposure to Hindu religion and culture in Durban.

Guy is the elder brother of artist and guitarist James D. Beck (deceased), industrial designer Benjamin J. Beck, partner in the design firm Eleven (Boston), and sister Naneese Beck Bonnell of Manlius, New York. His siblings also include brother David Ferry of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and sister Patricia Caillouet of Littleton, Colorado. On November 22, 1979, in Kolkata, India, Guy was married to artist Kajal Das, granddaughter of Alamohan Das of Dassnagar, Howrah, West Bengal. The traditional Hindu wedding ceremony was conducted by renowned Sanskrit scholar and professor, Pandit Gaurinath Sastri.

Raised in a liberal religious environment, Guy attended the Episcopal Church and sang in choirs while at St. James Military School in Faribault, Minnesota (1957–58), and was later exposed to Christian Science, Unitarianism, and Freemasonry. Both of his grandfathers and several uncles were active in Scottish Rite Masonry and the Shriners. Guy became a Master Mason in 1986 and remains a member of Fayetteville Central City Lodge No. 305. He joined the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction, in 1987 (Valley of Syracuse), achieving the 32nd Degree, and also served as musician or organist in several lodges. His exposure to the idealism of Christian Science ("the world is spiritual, not material") paved the way for his later acceptance of Hindu idealism in the form of Vedanta philosophy in which nothing in the universe truly exists apart from pure consciousness in the form of Brahman. On the other hand, his participation in Freemasonry was partly guided by his discovery of elements of Hindu mysticism and Eastern religions in the advanced degrees of the Scottish Rite.

Guy was drawn to Eastern religions and Yoga in the 1960s, inspired by the writings of Swami Vishnudevananda, Rudyard Kipling, Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), as well as the music of Pandit Ravi Shankar (sitar) and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (sarod). By 1970, seeking knowledge of Indian spirituality and vocal music, and desiring a deeper sense of community apart from the rapidly changing counter-cultural milieu, he embraced devotional Hinduism (Bhakti-Yoga) as inspired by the writings and public lectures of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of the Gaudiya Sampradaya (Bengal Vaishnavism). He took spiritual initiation (diksha) in 1971 from Srila Prabhupada, and received the name of Santosh Das ("satisfaction"). For several years he trained in Sanskrit and Bengali languages at Columbia University as part of his editorial service (1972–1976) in the Sanskrit Department of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Press and the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, New York and Los Angeles. He was appointed Sanskrit Editor for Back To Godhead magazine in New York, and Head of the Sanskrit Department for Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Los Angeles. He also served in India as president of New Delhi ISKCON Temple in 1978, and previously in 1972 as organist and treasurer in the USA for the travelling road show called "Transcendental Rock Opera," directed by legendary devotee Vishnujan Swami. For his dedicated service and spiritual advancement, Beck received the title of 'Bhakti Sastri' ("Professor of Devotion").[citation needed]

During his initial visit to India in March 1975, Beck was attracted to the devotional singing at the Sri Radhavallabha Temple in Vrindaban, a Hindu holy place in northern India associated with the god Krishna. The Radhavallabha sect represents a genuine devotional tradition native to the area (Braj) where Krishna and his associates lived. Seeking clarification regarding the link between devotional Hinduism and Indian classical vocal music, he received valuable guidance in New York from Swami Nadabrahmananda (Divine Life Society of Swami Shivananda) on the nature and importance of vernacular songs in Hindu religious experience. As a result, Beck spent the next five years (1976–1980) in India studying Hindustani classical and devotional vocal music in Kolkata (Calcutta), New Delhi, and Vrindaban, under various Gurus and distinguished exponents.


Beck completed his B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Denver in 1981, and an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of South Florida in 1982. For further studies in religion and music, he received an M.A. (1986) in Fine Arts, Musicology, a M.Phil (1987) in Religion, and a PhD in Religion, South Asia from Syracuse University in 1989. At Syracuse University, he studied South Asian religion and Sanskrit literature under Prof. H. Daniel Smith and Swami Agehananda Bharati, Hindi language with Jishnu Shankar, history of religions under Prof. Charles H. Long, world religions from Prof. Huston Smith (PBS Series, The Wisdom of Faith with Bill Moyers), religion and myth under Prof. David L. Miller, Jewish liturgy and Hebrew Bible under Prof. Alan Berger, Gnosticism under Prof. Patricia Cox Miller, Medieval music theory and history, including Gregorian Chant, with Prof. Howard Boatwright, music performance practice with Prof. George Nugent, Nineteenth-Century music and the arts under Prof. Eric F. Jensen, and world music and ethnomusicology from Prof. Ellen Koskoff. At the University of South Florida, he studied Sanskrit and Vedic literature with Prof. George Artola, ethnomusicology from Prof. Pat Waterman (widow of Richard Waterman, principal founder of the Society for Ethnomusicology), eastern religions under Dr. Daniel Bassuk, comparative mysticism from Prof. William Shea, New Testament with Prof. Randy Akers, and Biblical religion and ancient mystery religions of the Near East under archaeologist Prof. James F. Strange.[citation needed]

During five years in India (1976–1980), he studied Sanskrit and Indian philosophy with Prof. Gaurinath Shastri, (President of Sanskrit College, Calcutta), Vaishnavism and Tantric traditions with Dr. Govinda Gopal Mukhopadhyay (University of Burdwan), and Bengali literature from Prof. Sukumar Sen (Calcutta University).

Beginning in 1990, beside Tulane and Loyola, Beck has taught courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, Asian Religions, World Religions, Mysticism, Religion and Music, Introduction to Religious Studies, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion at Louisiana State University, College of Charleston (SC), University of North Carolina-Wilmington, University of New Orleans, and University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He has also taught online courses in Religious Studies for University of Central Missouri.

During the fall of 2001, Beck was a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies at Oxford University (UK). At Oxford, he delivered the Michaelmas Lectures on Hinduism and Music and taught a graduate seminar in ethnomusicology for the Bates School of Music.[citation needed]


Beck is the author of Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound (University of South Carolina Press, 1993) where he examines Hindu theology and Indian philosophy in terms of sacred sound. This is the first comprehensive scholarly treatment of the concept of Nada-Brahman (sacred sound) in the Hindu tradition, including the Vedas, Upanishads, grammatical, Tantra, Yoga, Sakta, Siva, and Vaishnava branches. Renowned theologian and scholar of sound and language, Walter J. Ong, author of Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, has praised this book: “Guy Beck provides a careful and welcome corrective to Western hypervisualism that invites response from Western theology and other traditions as well. This book is a unique and resounding achievement for theological and human understanding.” Additionally, the book has received praise from the leading academic journal in religious studies: "Sonic Theology makes a significant contribution to the ongoing Western understanding of the audible or sonic dimension in Hinduism, and it also provides a welcome corrective in the academy by focusing on sacred sound. Sonic Theology has not only tuned itself to the sonic experience in theology, it has struck a note that will reverberate for years to come."—History of Religions

In the sequel, Sonic Liturgy: Ritual and Music in Hindu Tradition (University of South Carolina Press, 2012), the historical relationship between Hindu ritual and Indian classical and devotional music is documented through analyses of Vedic ritual, Sama-Gana, Natya-Sastra, Gandharva Sangita, and Bhakti traditions. About Sonic Liturgy: Ritual and Music in Hindu Tradition, William K. Mahony, Charles A. Dana Professor of Religion at Davidson College, writes: “An informative, thorough, and insightful successor and companion to Beck’s earlier book, Sonic Theology, on the theory of sacred sound and music and its relationship to religious ideas, his current study turns to the sacred function of sound and music in Vedic and sectarian Hindu ritual and devotional praxis. With this book on sonic liturgy, scholars of religion will learn much about the history and function of sacred music in India; scholars of music will learn much about Vedic and Hindu religious ideas, perspectives, and practice; and scholars in liturgical studies have an excellent resource for their understanding of this important relationship between religion and music in India.”

Beck has also edited a volume of Krishna studies entitled, Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2005), which contains chapters describing the various forms and traditions of the deity Krishna in Hinduism. In his own chapter he outlines the alternative Krishnology of the Vaishnava sect known as the Radhavallabha Sampradaya. Jeffrey J. Kripal, Chair of Religious Studies, Rice University, has written: “Surely, there are few, if any, deities more central or important to Hinduism than Krishna. This volume adds important voices to our understanding of this Hindu deity, a real and very significant accomplishment.”

Two other reviews of this book are given below:

“The whole volume offers a considerable spectrum of various lesser-known forms of Krishna bhakti presented from different research perspectives. It is an informative addition to studies in broadly conceived Vaishnavism and religious traditions.” — Acta Orientalia Vilnensia

“Guy Beck has … provided a beautifully produced volume with some fascinating research papers presenting ‘regional and vernacular variations on a Hindu deity’ … [he] has done a great service by collecting and soliciting wonderfully rich and diverse articles." – Indo-Iranian Journal

Beck has also edited a popular volume on music in world religions, the first of its kind. Entitled, Sacred Sound: Experiencing Music in World Religions (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006), the book includes chapters on Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism by distinguished scholars, as well as a CD of forty selections of chant and music performed by the authors. This is the first classroom textbook on music in world religions with an accompanying CD.

Three reviews of this book are given below:

“A welcomed addition to the fields of religious studies and music.... Highly recommended.” — L. Smith, CHOICE

“As a textbook and audio anthology, this publication, as it stands, would serve as a suitable companion to introductory studies in the Music of World Religions.”—Christine Oro of the Ethnomusicology Program at University of Alberta (from Studies in Religion 39.2 (2010): 300–302)

“Guy L. Beck’s scholarly and innovative book explores religion through music. It elevates and emphasizes the critical role of musical activity in religious life. Rather than discussing music as an aesthetic supplement to religion, Beck’s book takes the approach that music is not incidental in religious practice but is a sacred treasure central to the growth and sustenance of world religions. Sacred Sound promises to be a milestone in the growing cross-disciplinary study of religion and music and includes a CD of musical examples.” — Greg Hansen, BYU Studies (Brigham Young University)

As an archivist of Indian devotional music, Beck has compiled, edited, and recorded 108 authentic temple songs of the Radhavallabha Sampradaya in the book and collection of 18 CDs entitled Vaishnava Temple Music in Vrindaban: The Radhavallabha Songbook (Blazing Sapphire Press, 2011). For this project, under a previous 1992–93 Fulbright Research Grant, Beck studied Haveli Sangit and Samaj Gayan, two genres of devotional music allied with Dhrupad, from musicians in Vrindaban and Mathura in northern India.

As a result of his research, Beck has written articles for reference works like Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts, Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd Edition and Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, South Asia volume. He is also on the International Advisory Board of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies.

Studying music in India[edit]

Beck is the first American singer and performer of Hindustani classical vocal music. Beginning in 1976, he has studied vocal music for over seven years in India under the traditional system of Guru-Sishya-Parampara (disciplic lineage). He initially learned from Sangeetacharya Sailen Banerjee at the Tansen Music College in Kolkata (1976–1980). Prof. Sailen Banerjee, vocalist and organiser of the famous Tansen Music Conferences, was a disciple of Ustad Dabir Khan, the hereditary descendent of Tansen, singer at the court of Emperor Akbar in the sixteenth century, and of Pt. Phanibhushan Ganguli, disciple of Ustad Faiyaz Khan of Agra Gharana. Beck received formal initiation into Hindustani vocal music by taking the nada-bandh ceremony from Prof. Banerjee in 1978. In 1978, Beck was accepted for further training at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy (SRA) founded in Kolkata in 1978. As the first non-Indian to be admitted to SRA vocal classes and seminars, he was taught there by Ustad Fariduddin Dagar, Pt. V. G. Jog, Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan, Pt. Vijay Kichlu, Pt. Jnan Prakash Ghosh, and Pt. A.T. Kanan. At SRA, he later continued his studies under Pt. Arun Bhaduri (Guru) and Pt. Vijay Kichlu (Founding Executive Director and Guru). He also received valuable guidance from Pt. Kumar Mukherjee, and has also learned three years from Sri Ashish Goswami, disciple of Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan of Patiala Gharana. During his time in Calcutta, he was fortunate to attend live concerts of renowned vocalists Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Pt. Mallikarjun Mansoor, Ustad Ata Hussain Khan, Ustad Aminuddin Dagar, Ustad Sharafat Khan, Smt. Hirabai Barodekar, Smt. Gangubai Hangal, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, and Ustad Hafiz Ahmed Khan. For basic training in Dhrupad, Beck learned from the younger Dagar Brothers in New Delhi in 1978, and also learned many rare Dhrupad compositions of the Vishnupur Gharana from Pandit Sambhunath Mukhopadhyaya of the Chhandam Institute of Dhrupad in Calcutta.[citation needed]

During 1992-1993, Beck received a Fulbright Grant to research the temple music traditions of Vrindaban, Mathura,and Rajasthan in northern India. The temple music of the Radhavallabha Sampradaya was taught by Sri Rajendra Prasad Sharma of Vrindaban, and the devotional music of the Pushti Marg tradition (Sri Vallabhacarya Sampradaya) was learned from Sri Nandalal Pareek of Vrindaban and Jaipur, and Shyam Das (American).[citation needed]

On record, Beck is the first American to sing in a national Indian music conference (Tansen Music Conference, 1977) of Hindustani music.[citation needed] He has since performed at Bhowanipur Sangeet Sammelan (Kolkata), Fulbright House (New Delhi), Indian Museum (Kolkata), Visvabharati Santiniketan University, ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Santipur Ragini in Santipur (West Bengal), and Nada Music Circle in Burdwan (West Bengal). While in Nepal (1980), he studied from the court musicians in Kathmandu, and performed on Radio Nepal as well as at the Maharani Palace of the Princess of Nepal. Later, in March 1993, he performed on a special program of Door Darshan (Indian TV), where he was interviewed by Pt. Kumar Mukherjee.

Beck is one of the first Westerners to earn a vocal music degree from an Indian institution ("Sangit Bivakar," Bachelor of Music, from the West Bengal State Academy of Music, 1980). He is also the first Westerner to study and perform Bengali Padavali-Kirtan, which he learned for four years in Calcutta from Prof. Mriganka Cakravarti of Rabindra Bharati University as well as from Kirtan Master Rathin Ghosh, earning a four-year diploma from the Bharatiya Samskriti Parishad in 1980. In addition, Beck learned Sikh music (Shabad Kirtan) from learned musicians at the Kolkata Gurdwara (Sikh temple).[citation needed]

Beck has since taught many students the art of Hindustani music, and frequently gives lectures and demonstrations at college campuses and other venues. For a brief history of Hindustani music and an overview of his musical training, see the article, "The Magic of Hindu Music," in Hinduism Today (October 2007, pp. 20–31). He has released three CD's: Sacred Raga (New Orleans: STR Digital Records, 1999), Sanjher Pradip (Calcutta: Bihaan Music, 2004), and a double CD set, Wisdom of the Khayal Song (Calcutta: Bihaan Music, 2016).


For advanced studies in Hindustani music in India, Beck was awarded a Senior Performing Arts Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) in 2008. This was followed in 2010 with a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellowship for the study of the Agra Gharana, the oldest and richest tradition of Hindustani vocal music with roots in Dhrupad of the fourteenth century. For this research and training, he was affiliated with the ITC Sangeet Research Academy under the guidance of Pt. Vijay Kichlu. Pt. Vijay Kichlu and his brother Pt. Ravi Kichlu, as disciples of the elder Dagar Brothers, had performed as popular concert and radio artists of Dhrupad and Khyal under the name of Kichlu Brothers. Pt. Vijay Kichlu, as the senior disciple of Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan and winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, is currently a highly respected vocalist and authority in Hindustani vocal music and the Agra Gharana. Beck was assisted in this research work by Smt. Purnima Sen (senior disciple of Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan and Ustad Sharafat Hussain Khan), Tapasi Ghosh (Calcutta University, disciple of Pt. D. T. Joshi, disciple of Ustad Faiyaz Khan), and Ustad Waseem Ahmed Khan (SRA Scholar and family member of Agra Gharana, being the grandson of Ustad Ata Hussain Khan).

In August 2011, Beck was invited as a participant in the prestigious Eranos Conferences held in Ascona, Switzerland. The Eranos Conferences were inaugurated by psychologist C. G. Jung in the early 1930s, and hosted intellectuals and scholars like Rudolf Otto, Karl Kerenyi, Mircea Eliade, author Hermann Hesse, and many others over the years. The theme of the 2011 meeting was "Love and the Musical Arts," and was organised by the Fetzer Institute under the direction of Lawrence Sullivan (Harvard University, Professor Emeritus). At this meeting Beck discussed and performed "Ragas of Love: Devotional Music in the Hindu Tradition."[citation needed]

From 2010 to 2012, Beck was selected to join a team of scholars receiving a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This two-year project entitled “Mellon Initiative on Religion across the Disciplines” sought to examine and implement ways in which the study of religion may be more fully integrated within the academic community. Beck was a Senior Director of the Working Group on Music and Religion, chaired by Prof. Peter Jeffery of Notre Dame University, which also presented papers at the 2012 annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) in Chicago, and Society of Ethnomusicology (SEM) in New Orleans.[1]

Beck's recent lecture/concerts include a featured presentation as part of the exhibit, "Yoga: the Art of Transformation," organised by the Freer/Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., on 6 December 2013. Here he delivered a lecture on "Hindu Philosophies of Sound," and performed an Indian classical vocal recital along with performances by Srinivas Reddy on sitar and Nitin Mitta on tabla. In May 2014, he gave a lecture, workshop, and concert at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

In 2016, Beck received a Fulbright-Nehru Academic Excellence Award for six months of further research in Hindustani vocal music.[2][3]

For this 2016 grant Beck was based in Kolkata under the guidance and tutelage of Guru Pandit Vijay Kichlu of the Agra Gharana. He was also assisted by Vidushi Subhra Guha, renowned singer and disciple of Pt. K.G. Ginde and Pt. Sunil Bose. During this time he participated in several academic events and completed a recording project. On March 29–30, Beck was a speaker at the distinguished "International Seminar on Indian Performing Arts: Theorization and Pedagogy," held at M.S. University of Baroda in Baroda, Gujarat. This auspicious event commemorated the centenary anniversary of the first All-India Music Conference that took place there in 1916 under the direction of Pandit V.N. Bhatkhande. Dr. Rajesh Kelkar, Head of the Faculty of Vocal Music, and a distinguished singer of the Agra Gharana, assisted Beck with his research in many invaluable ways during his stay in Baroda. On June 4, Guy was the invited keynote speaker and performer at the conference, "Sacred Voices," held in Tokyo, Japan at the International Christian University under the direction of Professor Matt Gillan of the ICU Sacred Music Center. On July 14, Beck was the invited keynote speaker and performer at the prestigious "International Seminar on Spiritualism as Reflected in the Content of North Indian Music," held at Rabindra Bharati University, Jorasanko Campus (family estate of Nobel Prize Winner, Rabindranath Tagore). Beck also performed at the Fulbright Conference, March 2, in Jaipur, and at the American Center in Kolkata, on June 21. As part of his grant project, Guy Beck recorded a double CD set entitled, Wisdom of the Khayal Song, released by Bihaan Music, Kolkata, also on June 21. This recording, including explanatory booklet with lyrics and translations, features twenty North Indian classical songs in eighteen different ragas, sung by Beck and accompanied on tabla by Avijit Kastha, and on sarangi by Debasish Halder (



  • Author. Sonic Liturgy: Ritual and Music in Hindu Traditions. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2012, w/CD
  • Author. Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1993. Studies in Comparative Religion Series.
  • Editor. Vaishnava Temple Music in Vrindaban: The Radhavallabha Songbook. Kirksville, MO: Blazing Sapphire Press, 2011, w/18 CD's.
  • Editor. Sacred Sound: Experiencing Music in World Religions. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006, w/CD
  • Editor. Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2005.

CD recordings: Indian Music:

  • Sanjher Pradip. CD of Indian classical and devotional music. Calcutta: Bihaan Music, 2004.
  • Sacred Raga. CD of Indian classical and devotional music. New Orleans: STR Digital Records, 1999.

Publications: Selected Book Chapters and Articles

  • “Hinduism and Music.” In The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts. Frank Burch Brown, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, 358–366.
  • “Hinduism.” In The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd Edition. 8 vols. Charles Hiroshi Garrett, editor-in-chief. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Vol. 4, 173–174.
  • “Bhakti Sangit: The Art of Music in Vaishṇava Tradition.” Journal of Vaishnava Studies 21.2 (Spring 2013): 143–171.
  • “Two Braj Bhāṣā Versions of the Rāsa-Līlā Pañcādhyāyī and Their Musical Performance in Vaiṣṇava Worship.” In The Bhāgavata Purāṇa: Sacred Text and Living Tradition. Ravi M. Gupta and Kenneth R. Valpey, eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013, 181–201.
  • “Rāgas of Love: Devotional Music in the Hindu Tradition.” In Eranos Yearbook 2009-2010-2011, Love on a Fragile Thread. Fabio Merlini, Lawrence E. Sullivan, Riccardo Bernardini and Kate Olson, eds. Einsiedeln: Daimon Verlag, 2012, 577–595.
  • “Divine Musical Instruments.” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol. V, 36–44. Knut A. Jacobsen, ed. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2013.
  • “Hit Harivams.” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol. IV, 234–240. Knut A. Jacobsen, ed. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2012.
  • “Haridasi Sampradaya,” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol. III, 329–338. Knut A. Jacobsen, ed. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2011.
  • “Radhavallabha Sampradaya,” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol. III. 467–477. Knut A. Jacobsen, ed. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2011.
  • “Kirtan and Bhajan in Bhakti Traditions,” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Vol. II, 585–598. Knut A. Jacobsen, ed. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2010.
  • “The Magic of Hindu Music.” Hinduism Today (October 2007): 20–31.
  • “Kolkata (Calcutta),” 106–109; “Orissa,” 93–94; “Puri,” 116–117. In Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. Vol. 5, Asia and Oceania. John Shepherd, David Horn, and Dave Laing, eds. London and New York: Continuum International Publishing group, 2005.
  • “Hearing the Sacred: Introducing Religious Chant and Music into Religious Studies Teaching.” Religious Studies News: Spotlight on Teaching/Religion and Music. 16.2 (Spring 2001): 2, 8.
  • “Religious and Devotional Music: Northern Area.” In Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Vol. 5, Indian Subcontinent. Alison Arnold, ed. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 2000, 246–258
  • “Nada-Brahman and North Indian Classical Music: Parameters of Intersection.” Journal of Indian Philosophy and Religion. 3 (October 1998): 69–90.
  • "Samaj-Gayan for Radha and Krishna: Devotional Music in the Radhavallabha Sampradaya." Journal of Vaiṣṇava Studies, 7.1 (Fall 1998): 85–100
  • “Fire in the Atman: Repentance in Hinduism.” In Repentance: A Comparative Perspective. Amitai Etzioni and David Carney, eds. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997, 76–95.
  • “An Introduction to the Poetry of Narottam Dās.” Journal of Vaiṣṇava Studies, 4.4 (Fall 1996): 17–52. Includes a full translation of “Prārthana” by Narottam Dās from Bengali to English.
  • "Devotional Hymns from the Sanskrit.” In Religions of India in Practice. Donald S. Lopez, ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995, 133–144.

Publications: Freemasonry

  • “Celestial Lodge Above: The Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem as a Religious Symbol in Freemasonry.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 4.1 (October 2000): 28-51
  • “Freemasons.” In Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition, vol. 5. Lindsay Jones, Editor-in-Chief. New York: Thomson Gale, 2005, 3193-3199.

References to Harold Cooke (father of Guy Beck):

  • Jablonski, Edward. Harold Arlen: Happy with the Blues. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961, 17.
  • Irvin, Sam. Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010, 62.


  1. ^ Dame, ENR // AgencyND // University of Notre. "Music and Religion // Mellon Initiative on Religion across the Disciplines // University of Notre Dame".
  2. ^ "USIEF".
  3. ^ "Tulane University - Musicologist receives second Fulbright-Nehru award".

External links[edit]