W. Francis McBeth

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William Francis McBeth
Born(1933-03-09)March 9, 1933
Ropesville, Texas
DiedJanuary 6, 2012(2012-01-06) (aged 78)
Arkadelphia, Arkansas
OccupationComposer
Spouse(s)Mary Sue White
ChildrenLaura Murphy, Matthew McBeth
 
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William Francis McBeth
Born(1933-03-09)March 9, 1933
Ropesville, Texas
DiedJanuary 6, 2012(2012-01-06) (aged 78)
Arkadelphia, Arkansas
OccupationComposer
Spouse(s)Mary Sue White
ChildrenLaura Murphy, Matthew McBeth

William Francis McBeth (March 9, 1933 – January 6, 2012) was a prolific American composer, whose wind band works are highly respected. His primary musical influences included Clifton Williams, Bernard Rogers, and Howard Hanson. The popularity of his works in the United States during the last half of the twentieth century led to many invitations and appearances as a guest conductor, where he often conducted the premiere performances of some of his compositions, the majority of which were commissioned. His conducting activities have taken him to forty-eight states, three Canadian provinces, Japan, and Australia.[1] At one time, his "Double Pyramid Balance System" was a widely used pedagogical tool in the concert band world.

From 1957 until his retirement in 1996, McBeth taught at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.[2]

Career[edit]

McBeth was born in Ropesville, Texas (near Lubbock). His parents were Joseph Phinis McBeth, a Baptist minister, and Lillie May Carpenter McBeth. McBeth had a brother, Harold, and a sister, Laura Fay. He had an early start to his musical training, studying piano with his mother and taking up the trumpet in the second grade. He graduated from Irving High School in Irving, Texas where he served as President of the IHS Senior Class of 1951, as well as President of Future Farmers of America. He lettered in football and track and was a member of the tiger band and choir. Mary Sue White McBeth, wife of Frances, was also in the Irving High Tiger Band class of 1951. He attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. While an undergraduate at H-SU, McBeth played in the university band. From December 1952 to January 1953, the band traveled with U.S. Camp Shows to Europe. He also played string bass in a jazz combo, which was unusual for the time period due to widespread segregation throughout the South.

McBeth married Mary Sue White in 1953. They had a daughter, Laura and a son, Matthew. He served in the military from 1954 to 1956 with the 101st Airborne Band at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and the 98th Army Band at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He was initiated into the University of Texas Alpha Iota Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia in 1957.

In 1962, McBeth conducted the Arkansas All-State Band, with future president Bill Clinton playing in the tenor saxophone section. He served as the third conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra from 1970 until 1973. He died on January 6, 2012, aged 78 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Awards[edit]

The most outstanding of his awards have been the Presley Award at Hardin-Simmons University, the Howard Hanson Prize at the Eastman School of Music for his Third Symphony in 1963, recipient of an ASCAP Special Award each consecutive year from 1965 to present, the American School Band Directors Association's Edwin Franko Goldman Award in 1983, elected Fellow of the American Wind and Percussion Artists by the National Band Association in 1984, National Citation from Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity in 1985, in 1988 Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia's Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award for his achievement and continued contribution to American music, Kappa Kappa Psi's Distinguished Service to Music Medal in 1989, Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic's Medal of Honor in 1993, the John Philip Sousa Foundations Sudler Medal of Honor in 1999, and Past President of the American Bandmasters Association. In 1975 McBeth was appointed Composer Laureate of the State of Arkansas by the Governor, the first Composer Laureate named in the United States. [1]

Works[edit]

Works for Orchestra[edit]

Symphonies[edit]

Other Orchestral Works[edit]

Works for Winds[edit]

(The bulk of McBeth's wind ensemble and concert band music is published by Southern Music Company of San Antonio, Texas.)

Pedagogical Works[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Encyclopaedia of Arkansas History, William Francis McBeth
  2. ^ Southern Music Company website