John Beckett (Composer and Conductor 1927 - 2007)

John Stewart Beckett (1927 - 2007)
Reginald gray, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

John Stewart Beckett was an Irish musician, composer and conductor, born in February 1927 in Sandyford Co Dublin. He was the son of Dr Gerald Beckett and Margaret Robinson Beckett nee Collen. John and his family moved to Greystones in 1933 when his father became to the medical officer for the County of Wicklow. His father played rugby for Ireland. Beckett was educated firstly at Aravon in Bray, followed by Columba’s College in 1940 and then went to study at the Royal Irish Academy of music. This was followed by the Royal College of Music.
Beckett met his future wife in 1947 and later they moved to London, after spending several years residing in Dublin. He presented a four part series in 1955 on John Dowland and in the same year wrote music for his cousin Samuel Beckett’s mime “Acte sans paroles”. In 1959 saw him write music for the Third Programme radio play. In 1960 he taught music at a school and by 1964 he was employed freelance as a tuned percussion player at the London Symphony Orchestra. He returned to Ireland and settled there until he was appointed in 1883 to the position of producer for BBC 3 and left the BBC in 1987, though he worked freelance after he left the BBC. He died in Greenwich in 2007.
Noted works include in 1962 the music for Samuel Beckett’s radio play “Words and Music” and the music for several of George Morrison’s film such as “Rising 1916” and in 1973 “Eamon de Valera”.


Gannon, Charles;John Stewart Beckett”, Dictionary of Irish Biography, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin (2009)

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