Obituary: Composer Jack Beeson, 88

Posted on: June 10, 2010

In Wednesday’s (6/9) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Jack Beeson, an American composer best known for ‘Lizzie Borden,’ his opera based on the famous ax-murder case, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 88. His death, at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, was caused by congestive heart failure, his daughter, Miranda Beeson, said. Dapper, trim and lively to the end, Mr. Beeson was a longtime professor of music at Columbia University, lived near the campus in Manhattan and remained active there as a professor emeritus. … The composer and author Nicolas Slonimsky once described Mr. Beeson’s approach to composition as ‘enlightened utilitarianism.’ That characterization delighted Mr. Beeson, who eschewed dogma, never fell in with any camp and drew from any style or technique that suited his musical and dramatic ends, especially in his 10 operatic works, which include ‘Hello Out There,‘ ‘The Sweet Bye and Bye,’ and ‘Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines.’ ”

Posted June 10, 2010