Banner - John Beeman

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Biographical Information

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Photo - John BeemanJohn Beeman studied with Peter Fricker and later with William Bergsma at the University of Washington where he received his Master's degree. His first opera, The Great American Dinner Table, was produced on National Public Radio. Orchestral works have been performed by the Fremont-Newark Philharmonic, Peninsula Symphony, and Santa Rosa Symphony. The composer's second opera, Law Offices, premiered in San Francisco in 1996 and was later performed on the steps of the San Mateo County Courthouse. Mr. Beeman has received ASCAP special awards from 1998-2004, and also has attended the Ernest Bloch Festival, Oxford Summer Institutes and Bard Composer-Conductor program. Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra was premiered in 2001 by Paul Dresher. Mr. Beeman has attended the Ernest Bloch Composers' Symposium, the Bard Composer-Conductor program, the Oxford Summer Institutes, and the Oregon Bach Festival and has received awards through Meet the Composer, the American Music Center and ASCAP.

Compositions have been performed by Ensemble Sorelle, the Mission Chamber Orchestra, the Ives Quartet, Fireworks Ensemble, the Oregon Repertory Singers and Schola Cantorum of San Francisco.

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Photo - John Beeman at the Piano ComposingAbout My Compositions:

In my music I attempt to create feelings, impressions, moods, colors which are natural. By "natural" I mean sincere expressions of life, people, emotions and nature -- not artificial, intellectual, imposed-upon musical creations. In this sense almost all of my music is programmatic.

In compositions about nature such as Desert Sketches, The Rogue River: A Suite for Chamber Orchestra and River Suite, this is easier to achieve: the harmonies, rhythms, colors and textures of the music are meant to give an impression of nature. The impression is not literal, but instead should stimulate the listener on an emotional and perhaps subliminal level.

In my operas and musical theatre works, the "natural" element of the music comes from another source. In The Answering Machine, Law Offices and The Great American Dinner Table, it is the current of the drama which drives the music. The actions and emotions of the characters should be intimately connected with the music. The music should serve the drama, not subserviently, but as an equal powerful force.

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Links and Other Items of Interest

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Carla Brooke

For those of you who don't know this already, my frequent librettist and collaborator, Carla Brooke, is also my wife. To learn more about the exciting things she does when she's not writing a new libretto, you can visit her website.

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The San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra

I am bass player in the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. This is an orchestra comprised mostly of composers who perform music written by its members. I have had several compositions performed by the SFCCO since its founding by music director, Mark Alburger, in 2001. You can learn more about this innovative orchestra at its website sfcco.org.

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NACUSA and other Resources for American Music

If you are interested in finding out more about composers in the United States, their compositions and their activities, one source of information is the The American Music Center. Another source is the National Association of Composers, USA (NACUSA), an organization of composers of which I am a member. Check out our national website and our San Francisco Area Chapter website for information about some of my colleagues and their activities.

And, speaking of colleagues, please check out the website for my friend, composer Nancy Bloomer Deussen. Among other things, Nancy has assisted in performances of my piece Dear Composer.

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The Peninsula Symphony

In January of 2001, the Peninsula Symphony, conducted by Mitchell Sardou Klein, with soloist Paul Dresher, premiered my Concerto for Electric Guitar. For more information about the Peninsula Symphony and their upcoming season, please go to their website.

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