James A. Beckel Concerto for Trombone

Former principal trombonist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO), James Beckel, is not only a world class trombonist. His admirable skillset includes excellence as an educator, and he is successful composer. Since his retirement from the ISO Beckel has been in demand as a composer. Below you can read more about his Concerto for Trombone, and you can hear Indiana University’s Carl Lenthe perform James A. Beckel’s Concerto for Trombone. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the piece, click here.

Publishing Notes:

The Trombone Concerto was written in the summer of 2013 for a joint commission of ten bands.  The performance at DePauw University on October 15, 2013 was the premiere of this work in piano reduction, performed by James Beckel on trombone and Greg Martin on piano.  The orchestral premiere occurred on April 5th of 2014 with the Gulf Coast Symphony conducted by John Strickler.  The trombone soloist was Joe Alessi.

This work is less programmatic than most of the composer’s body of work.  Although the concerto is based on personal reflections and introspections throughout this work, the composer, at a more mature age, is looking for answers to life’s questions that most people have regarding their existence and the meaning of life.  With age comes only the realization that he has more questions than answers to these great religious and philosophical mysteries.  The composer decides in his own mind that mankind does have free will, but firmly believes that the consequences of man’s free will can also lead to destinies that are unavoidable.
More program notes can be found below in the documents section, including co-commissioner participants.

Performers’ Reviews:

Joe Alessi (Principal Trombonist with the New York Philharmonic)

“I had the greatest time performing James Beckel’s Concerto for Trombone.  Being that it was composed by an accomplished trombonist, all the passages are written with the instrument in mind, allowing the trombonist to play with ease.  Not only is this piece fun to play, it exploits the beautiful legato singing style that all trombonists crave.  The piece is a crowd pleaser and the melodies are memorable.  I highly recommend this wonderful concerto to all trombonists.”

Carl Lenthe
 (Professor of Trombone at IU Jacobs School of Music)“James Beckel’s new trombone concerto is a major work of symphonic dimensions and depth, and showcases the solo trombone very effectively.  I am thrilled and honored to play it.”

Bill Mathis
 (Professor of Trombone at Bowling Green State University)“It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to give the first performance of James Beckel’s Trombone Concerto with Wind Band Accompaniment on April 29, 2014 with the Detroit Symphony Civic Youth Wind Ensemble under the direction of Kenneth Thompson.  Beckel’s Concerto is a beautiful, expansive, and dramatic work.  The music lies so well on the horn, it is obvious that this is a piece written for trombonists by a trombonist.  It is a challenging work, to be sure, but quite accessible for advanced college students and professional trombonists.”

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