Percussion ensemble not trying to find replacement
Artist biography Bob Becker
Born on June 22, 1947 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Bob Becker holds the degrees Bachelor of Music with Distinction, and Master of Music (Performance and Literature) from the Eastman School of Music where he studied percussion with William G. Street and John H. Beck, and composition with Warren Benson and Aldo Provenzano.
As an undergraduate Bob Becker was also awarded the school's prestigious Performer's Certificate for his concerto performance with the Rochester Philharmonic. He later spent four years doing post-graduate study in the World Music program at Wesleyan University where he became intensely involved with the music cultures of North and South India, Africa and Indonesia.
As a founding member of the percussion ensemble Nexus, Bob Becker has been involved with the collection and construction of a unique multi-cultural body of instruments as well as the development of an extensive and eclectic repertoire of chamber and concerto works for percussion.
Bob Becker later spent four years doing post-graduate study in the World Music program at Wesleyan University where he became intensely involved with the music cultures of North and South India, Africa and Indonesia. As a founding member of the percussion ensemble Nexus, he has been involved with the collection and construction of a unique multi-cultural body of instruments as well as the development of an extensive and eclectic repertoire of chamber and concerto works.
Bob Becker’s performing experience spans nearly all of the musical disciplines where percussion is found. He has been percussionist for the Marlboro Music Festival and timpanist with the Marlboro Festival Orchestra under Pablo Casals. He has also performed and toured as timpanist with the Kirov Ballet and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.
For several years Bob Becker toured as drummer and percussionist with the Paul Winter Consort. He has performed and recorded with such diverse groups as the Ensemble Intercontemporaine under Pierre Boulez, the Ensemble Modern of Germany, the Schoenberg Ensemble of Amsterdam and the Boston Chamber Players. He has appeared as tabla soloist in India and has accompanied many of the major artists of Hindustani music.
Bob Becker was co-founder and the first director of the Flaming Dono West African Dance and Drum Ensemble in Toronto. With Nexus he has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra among many others, and has received the Toronto Arts Award and the Banff Centre for the Arts National Award. In 1999 he and the other members of Nexus were inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.
As a regular member of the ensemble Steve Reich and Musicians, he has appeared as soloist with the Israel Philharmonic, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the London Symphony and recorded extensively for Deutsche Grammophone, EMI and Nonesuch. In 1998 the ensemble won a Grammy award for its recording of Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians.
Generally considered to be one of the world’s premier virtuoso performers on the xylophone and marimba, Bob Becker also appears regularly as an independent soloist and clinician. In particular, his work toward resurrecting the repertoire and performance styles of early 20th century xylophone music has been recognized internationally. He has appeared as xylophone soloist at the Blossom Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Meadow Brook Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival and with orchestras and concert bands throughout the United States. Since 2000, he has directed an annual ragtime xylophone seminar at the University of Delaware which has attracted students from around the world.
Becker has performed and lectured for music departments and percussion programs throughout North America and Europe. His clinics and workshops cover a wide variety of percussion topics including North Indian tabla drumming, West and East African percussion, "melodic" snare drumming, rudimental arithmetic, creative approaches to cymbal playing, and ragtime xylophone improvisation concepts.
In the fall of 2002 Bob Becker was a jurist for the Geneva International Music Competition in Switzerland and in 2005 he was a member of the jury for the International Percussion Competition Luxembourg. He has served as editor for the contemporary percussion issue of the British publication Contemporary Music Revue and served for two years on the board of directors of the Percussive Arts Society.
Bob Becker’s compositions and arrangements are performed regularly by percussion groups world-wide. He also has a long history of association with dance and has created music for the Joffrey Ballet in New York, among others. In 1991 he and Joan Phillips were awarded the National Arts Centre Award for the best collaboration between composer and choreographer at Toronto’s INDE ’91 dance festival. His most recent works include There is a Time, commissioned by Rina Singha and the Danny Grossman Dance Company, Noodrem, commissioned through the Canada Council by the Dutch ensemble Slagwerkgroep Den Haag, Turning Point, composed for the Nexus ensemble, Cryin’ Time, a setting of poetry by the Canadian artist Sandra Meigs, Never in Word and Time in the Rock, settings of poetry by the American author Conrad Aiken, and Music On The Moon, commissioned through the Laidlaw Foundation by the Esprit Orchestra in Toronto. Five of his compositions are included on his solo album, There is a Time, released in 1995 on the Nexus Records label.
In the spring of 1997 Bob Becker was selected to be composer-in-residence for the Virginia Waterfront International Festival of the Arts which featured the United States premier of Music On The Moon by the Virginia Symphony and a concert of his chamber works by his own group, the Bob Becker Ensemble.