2009-06-10 / Obituaries

Robert Beckhard

Robert Beckhard, age 91, died May 28, 2009, in New York, New York. Beloved husband to Patricia Knight Beckhard, brother-in-law to Susan Knight Cecil and Sally Knight Rabilloud, and uncle to Elizabeth Waller, Daniel Beckhard, and Ruth Werner.

Born and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, he was a passionate musician and student of English music from the early 20th century. He studied at the Boston University College of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, and Harvard University.

During the late 1940s he was an editor of music and text material at G. Schirmer Inc., working with such composers as Kurt Weill, Percy Grainger, and William Schuman. Bob composed over 200 original published choral and piano works, and his compositions have been performed by numerous professional and school choruses. He was a recognized expert on the music of Peter Warlock, and served as a musicologist for the fictionalized film account of Warlock's life, Voices From a Locked Room. He contributed an essay to the book Peter Warlock, A Centenary Celebration, published in 1994. In later years he devoted himself to research for a book about the life of the singer John Goss.

Bob was also an accomplished professional photographer, whose images have been publicly exhibited in New York City and Putnam County, New York, and published in books and magazines. His evocative black and white photography illustrated two books by Frances F. Dunwell: The Hudson River Highlands and The Hudson: America's River. He taught photography at the Garrison Art Center. He and Pat loved their cottage near the Hudson in Garrison, where Bob spent countless happy hours tending his vegetable garden. He will be greatly missed by his family and his wide circle of friends.

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