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Percussion Ensemble honors John Beckford in April 6 concert

John Beckford
John Beckford joined the Furman faculty in 1976. He led percussion studies and served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty.

The Furman Percussion Ensemble will present a concert honoring the career of Furman Music Professor John Beckford Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. in Daniel Recital Hall on the Furman University campus. Guests are invited onstage to an instrument “petting zoo” from 7:30-7:45 p.m.

Directed by Furman Percussion Professor Omar Carmenates, the concert is open to the public and is presented by the Furman Department of Music. Tickets for the Sound Quality Concert Series event are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors 60 and older, and $5 for students.

The one-hour concert celebrates the 43-year career of retiring Professor of Music and former Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean John S. Beckford. Alumni from across the professor’s tenure will join the students of the Furman Percussion Ensemble, and Beckford will also conduct and perform with the ensemble.

The Furman University Percussion Ensemble performs a wide variety of literature while also dedicating itself to the commissioning and performing of new chamber works from both established and up-and-coming composers, most notably, Alejandro Viñao, Marc Mellits, John Psathas and David Crowell.

As part of a long-running collaboration with Furman’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, the ensemble also has become known for its performances and recordings of ecoacoustic music, helping promote Furman’s standing as one of the nation’s academic leaders in sustainability.

Recent projects include the co-commissioning and performing of the United States premiere of John Luther Adams’ “Inuksuit” for 9-99 outdoor percussionists, an upcoming release of music by ecoacoustic composer Matthew Burtner, and a recording entitled “The John Psathas Percussion Project Volume 1” released in January 2019 through PARMA Recordings—a recording that has won praise from Gramophone  magazine as having “superbly rendered performances” that rival previous recordings of Psathas’ work.

For more information about the event, contact the Furman University Music Department at 864-294-2086, and

About John S. Beckford
John Beckford joined the Furman faculty in 1976. After 32 years as the university’s first full-time percussion instructor, he was appointed dean of faculty in March 2008 and later became vice president for academic affairs and dean, the university’s chief academic officer. Prior to these appointments, he headed all areas of percussion studies at Furman, taught music history, held state offices in the Percussive Arts Society, and was principal percussionist with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra until 2006. He continues to be an active performer as a member of the Greenville Symphony percussion section, performs with other organizations, and teaches music history, percussion methods and basic conducting classes. He holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Iowa.

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