ISO Principal Trombonist James Beckel joined the orchestra in 1969 after touring with the Henry Mancini Orchestra. Jim grew up in Marion, Ohio and started playing piano in 3rd grade followed by the trombone in 5th grade. He studied at Indiana University with Lewis Van Haney.
Jim’s favorite works to perform are “too many to mention. Any inspiring work is exciting for me. Sibelius 2 and 5, Mahler 1 and 5, Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis, etc. etc…” His favorite ISO memory comes from the first European tour with John Nelson. “When we played the New World Symphony in Mannheim, Germany to 15 curtain calls!” The most challenging part of Jim’s job? “Being on top of my game 200 times a year, i.e. every concert we play.”
Jim is Adjunct Professor of Trombone at DePauw University and a member of the Carmel Brass Choir. He is also an accomplished composer and has several works published by Hal Leonard Music, including “The Glass Bead Game,” “In the Mind’s Eye”, and “The American Dream”. Jim’s music is played around the world. Check out his website at www.jimbeckelmusic.com for more info.
He is currently working on a piece for next years Ronen Chamber Ensemble season and he has a joint commission to write a trombone concerto for Matt Vaughn, Associate Principal Trombonist with the Philadelphia Symphony.
Jim is married with two children. His daughter Julie plays in the ISO. His son David works in New York as a Senior Research Associate for Sanford C. Bernstein Research.