Jim Beckel

About Jim

James Beckel has written compositions that have been played by nearly every major orchestra in the United States and internationally in Europe, Asia, and Australia.  Prior to attending Indiana University as a trombone major, his interest in composition had already begun.  In high school, after studying composition at jazz camps, he entered a nationwide composition contest and won.  His career started with the Indianapolis Symphony as Principal Trombone, a position he held for 49 years until 2018. During his tenure in the symphony, Jim was able to learn from the masters and apply this knowledge to his own compositions.  He began writing music for orchestra in earnest in the late ‘80’s and early 90’s.  His A Christmas Fanfare, written in 1992, has become a staple for many orchestras during the holiday season.

In addition to playing in the Indianapolis Symphony, Jim taught at the University of Indianapolis and DePauw University.  He has retired from college teaching to concentrate on composing.

Perhaps one of Jim’s most successful pieces is The Glass Bead Game, which was commissioned by the late French hornist, Kent Leslie.  It is based on the novel of the same name by Herman Hesse.  This work, written for orchestra, band, chamber and piano accompaniment has been performed by horn players all over the world and is included in standard repertoire for the horn.

Another work, Liberty for All, has also enjoyed much success.  Jim won a grant with the American Composers Forum as part of the Continental Harmony program at the turn of the century.  Jim’s association with military bands led to several commissions for other patriotic works over the years and makes up an important part of his catalog.

Jim’s desire to write works for classical orchestral programs led to several commissions by the Indianapolis Symphony, and many of these were co-commissioned by other orchestras.  Included in these works are Toccata for Orchestra, Fantasy after Schubert, Concerto for Brass and Orchestra, In the Mind’s Eye, and From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond.

In addition to his orchestral works, Jim’s catalog contains many band and chamber works.

Jim continues to write new music and prepare his existing music for perpetuity.

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