Beckett, Garth
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Garth Beckett. Pianist, b Easton, Sask, 22 Dec 1933. A pupil of Lyell Gustin, Beckett made his orchestral debut in 1952, performing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. He studied in Europe, first with Geoffrey Tankard and James Ching in England (1954-6), then with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli in Italy (1957). He served 1964-6 as president of the Musical Art Club in Saskatoon.

Beckett concertized extensively 1966-79 as part of the Beckett-(Boyd) McDonald piano duo, founded in 1966 at the University of Saskatchewan. The duo's Canadian career included performances with major orchestras and frequent CBC broadcasts, as well as premiere performances of Bruce Mather's Sonata and Robert Turner's Concerto while Beckett and McDonald were on the faculty of the University of Manitoba (1967-76).

With the duo, Beckett performed in England (including five Wigmore Hall recitals in London between 1972 and 1976, and an appearance at the 1973 Cheltenham Festival) and major centres throughout Europe (Paris, Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden). In 1978 Beckett and McDonald gave their New York debut at Alice Tully Hall.

From 1976 to 1996, Beckett was head of the piano department at Wilfrid Laurier University. The Beckett-McDonald duo performed less frequently in the 1980s and eventually ceased. Beckett has been a juror of the Eckhardt-Gramatté and other music competitions, and is a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association.

Author Jeffrey Anderson, Tamara Bernstein, Betty Nygaard King

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