Jeremy Beck

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Jeremy Beck (born 1960) is an American composer who "knows the importance of embracing the past while also going his own way."[1] The critic Mark Sebastian Jordan has said that "Beck was committed to tonality and a recognizable musical vernacular long before that became the hip bandwagon it is today. Indeed, [he is] ... an original voice celebrating music."[2]


Beck's short comic opera, Review, with a libretto by Patricia Marx,[3] was one of three finalists in the 2010 National Opera Association's New Chamber Opera Competition. It was performed by Oberlin Opera Theater in February, 2014,[4] and twice by Peabody Opera: in October, 2011 in Baltimore,[5] and in Richmond, Virginia, at the College Music Society's annual convention.[6] Review was previously included in the 2009 Opera America and Houston Grand Opera New Works Sampler. Following that successful showcase, Review was then produced by the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston[7] and later was given its New York premiere by the Center for Contemporary Opera.[8]

Beck's opera The Biddle Boys and Mrs. Soffel was named by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as one of the Top Ten Cultural Events in Pittsburgh for the year 2001.[9]

With a libretto by the composer based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, his monodrama Black Water received its stage premiere on April 29, 2016. Produced by the Center for Contemporary Opera, the sold-out production at Symphony Space's Thalia Theater in New York City featured Laura Bohn, soprano, and Isabella Dawis, piano, with music direction by Lidiya Yankovskaya and stage direction by Eugenia Arsenis.[10]

String Quartets[edit]

Beck has released five CDs of his music on the innova label.[11] The critic Donald Rosenberg describes the music on Beck's most recent CD, String Quartets (2013), as "forceful and expressive … concise in structure and generous in tonal language, savouring both the dramatic and the poetic,"[12] while Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle states Beck's music is "appealing and skillfully crafted … [with] lush tonal harmonies."[13] Kosman further observes that "novelty isn't the only thing music can provide, and the moody expressiveness of Beck's writing is its own reward."[14]

IonSound Project[edit]

Beck's 2011 CD, IonSound Project, features the ensemble-in-residence at the University of Pittsburgh.[15][16] His music on this recording has been described as "uplifting, buoyant and ... emotional and sensitive to both the performer and the listener."[17] In addition, critic Andrew Sigler finds Beck's music "rhythmically intricate, and makes nods to the past while sitting squarely in the present. … Though architecturally rigorous, Beck writes clearly and without pretense[.]"[18]

Never Final, Never Gone[edit]

Beck's third innova CD, Never Final, Never Gone (2008), features a variety of chamber and vocal music.[19]

pause and feel and hark[edit]

His second CD, pause and feel and hark, released in May 2006, includes Black Water, a monodrama based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates.[20] Black Water received its Australian concert premiere at the 2012 Adelaide Fringe Festival.[21][22] The stage premiere of this monodrama was produced by the Center for Contemporary Opera at Symphony Space on April 29, 2016 in New York City.[23]


In 2004, Wave – a Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra CD devoted to Beck's music – was released.[24]


Beck has earned awards, grants and honors from the American Composers Orchestra, California Arts Council, the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Composers Forum, Kentucky Arts Council, Millay Colony for the Arts, Wellesley Composers Conference, Oregon Bach Festival, and the Iowa Arts Council.[25]


He holds degrees from the Yale School of Music, Duke University and the Mannes College of Music, where his principal teachers included Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Stephen Jaffe and David Loeb.[26]

Working life[edit]

Beck currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky, where he is a practicing attorney.[27] He blends his music background into his law practice, with an emphasis on copyright and contracts.[28][29]


  1. ^ Donald Rosenberg (December 2013). "Sounds of America". Gramophone. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  2. ^ "MusicWeb-International". Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Beck and Marx's Opera, Review, Premieres at CCO Gala Feb. 19". Playbill Arts. 16 January 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  4. ^ "2014 Winter Term Opera Sneak Peek". Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Opera at Peabody, Season 2010-2011". Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  6. ^ "YouTube/JeremyBeckComposer". Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Dallas Modern Music". Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  8. ^ "JMU premieres opera". Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  9. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (28 December 2001). "Best Classical of 2001: Andrew Manze and Richard Egarr". Post-Gazette. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Symphony Space- CCO Presents". Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  11. ^ "innova Recordings - Jeremy Beck". Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  12. ^ Donald Rosenberg (December 2013). "Sounds of America". Gramophone. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  13. ^ Joshua Kosman (24 October 2013). "Album Reviews - Jeremy Beck". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  14. ^ Joshua Kosman (24 October 2013). "Album Reviews - Jeremy Beck". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Pittsburgh City Paper". Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  16. ^ "IonSound Project". Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Audiofile Audition - Classical CD Reviews". Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  18. ^ Andrew Sigler (11 September 2012). "Sounds Heard: Ion Sound Project and the Music of Jeremy Beck". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Never Final, Never Gone". Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  20. ^ "pause and feel and hark". Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  21. ^ "ABC Classic FM". Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  22. ^ Helen Musa (13 March 2012). "Review: black, deep and meaningful". Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  23. ^ "Symphony Space- CCO Presents". Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Wave". Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  25. ^ "JEREMY BECK - COMPOSER". Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  26. ^ "JEREMY BECK - COMPOSER". Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  27. ^ "Ackerson & Yann, PLLC". Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  28. ^ Jeremy J. Beck and Libby Van Cleve (5 April 2011). "Speaking of Music and the Counterpoint of Copyright". Duke Law & Technology Review. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  29. ^ Jeremy J. Beck (October–December 2010). "Composing With Eyes Open: A Discussion of Commissions and Contracts" (PDF). American Composers Forum - Sounding Board. Retrieved 5 May 2016.

External links[edit]