Crafton Beck: Music Director and Conductor
Hailed as “one of the up-and-coming conductors who bears watching,” excitement built throughout the Jackson area for three years as the orchestra searched for, and finally selected and welcomed its new artistic leader, Crafton Beck. Mr. Beck is now entering his eleventh season as Music Director and Conductor of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.
Critics and presenters around the country have embraced Mr. Beck’s performances in both the classical and pops repertoire. More recently his educational concerts for young people have been noted as creative and dynamic. One critic wrote, “His enthusiasm exploded, propelling the orchestra to outdo their usual brilliant selves. The full house responded with wild applause and several standing ovations.” Another writer named Mr. Beck as “a conductor who bears watching,” and another simply said, “Remember his name, Crafton Beck.”
The scope of his musical versatility is also reflected in his talent as an arranger of over 80 musical selections, most of which have appeared on recordings by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Two of these albums have received Grammy Award Nominations. Mr. Beck’s ongoing relationship with that orchestra dates back to 1990, when he began a 6-year post as assistant to Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Such orchestras as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl have also performed Mr. Beck’s arrangements. Previously the Music Director of the Boca Pops Orchestra in Boca Raton, Florida, Mr. Beck also holds the position of Music Director of the Lima Symphony Orchestra in Ohio.
Born in Arkansas, Mr. Beck studied clarinet for many years before choosing a career in conducting. In 1987, he received a doctorate in conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Previous studies were at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the Aspen School. In 1986 and 1987 he served on the Carlton College faculty near Minneapolis, where he was Conductor of Orchestra.