James Beckel was born in Marion, Ohio, graduated from Indiana University where he studied with Lewis Van Haney and David Baker and joined the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1969. He is on the faculty of DePauw University, where he has performed as soloist with both their band and orchestra and as a recitalist.
Equally adept at classical and jazz styles, Beckel has been soloist with the ISO on several occasions and has been active in the Orchestra's education efforts. In 1991 he was honored as the first recipient of the Patch Leadership Award. He is internationally respected as a composer, his works having been performed by most of America's orchestras and recorded by several orchestras and concert bands. He and his wife, a retired project manager, are the parents of a son, a financial analyst in New York City, and a daughter, second horn in the Indianapolis Symphony.
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