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 Jack Hamilton Beeson

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Jack Hamilton Beeson

  • Birth 15 Jul 1921 Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, USA
  • Death 6 Jun 2010 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
  • Memorial ID 53439138

Composer. The writer of more than 200 varied pieces, he shall be remembered principally for his ten operas, particularly the 1965 "Lizzie Borden", a retelling of the legendary Fall River, Massachusetts murder story of 1892. Raised in Indiana, he began piano lessons at age six and was introduced to opera by Milton Cross and the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. Progressing rapidly in his studies, he received a certificate from the University of Toronto Conservatory in 1938. After taking two degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, he relocated to New York City and studied piano with composer Bela Bartok (1944 to 1945), while taking classes at Columbia University. A Prix de Rome and a Fulbright Scholarship sent him to Rome from 1948 to 1950 where he completed his first opera, "Jonah", based on a Paul Goodman play. Other operatic works both comic and dramatic were to follow including "Hello Out There" (1956), 1966's "Sorry, Wrong Number", and the 1990 "Cyrano". Beeson's magnum opus, the three-act "Lizzie Borden", received its world premiere from the New York City Opera on March 25, 1965, under the baton of Anton Coppola with Brenda Lewis in the lead. After being shown on public television in 1967 it was neglected for a number of years but has been revived since 1996. Beeson was a professor at Columbia for roughly 50 years while turning out compositions for symphony, chamber ensemble, band, and voice. Retirement to emeritus status did not decrease his activity as he kept teaching and completed several pieces including a song for baritone and piano called "Kilroy Was Here" shortly before his death from heart failure.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 9 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 53439138
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jack Hamilton Beeson (15 Jul 1921–6 Jun 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 53439138, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.