John Beckford

John Beckford's Biography

John S. Beckford, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean and Professor of Music at Furman University, holds Bachelor of Music, Master of Fine Arts, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Iowa where he studied percussion with Thomas L. Davis.

His performance experience includes Principal Percussionist and Timpanist for the Quad-City (Iowa and Illinois) Symphony Orchestra, and Percussionist for the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra where he served as principal for 30 years. Dr. Beckford continues to be an active performer as a member of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra percussion section, performs with other area organizations, and teaches a world music course at Furman.

He was a faculty member and chair of the music division with the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts in the summers from 1982 to 1999. He is a past president of the South Carolina Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society; is a Yamaha Regional-Artist Clinician; a member of the Vic Firth Percussion Education Team; and has served as an adjudicator for marching and concert percussion competitions. His research articles have been published in the journal Percussive Notes. Dr. Beckford has studied music in Cuba and Indonesia, and traveled to China in 2009 with the summer in China program for incoming Furman students.

A native of Burlington, Iowa, Dr. Beckford began teaching at Furman in the fall of 1976 as the university’s first full-time percussion instructor. His students have pursued careers as professional and amateur performers, high school and college teachers, church music directors, and members of the music business profession. As director of the Furman Percussion Ensemble, he led the group in numerous concerts before schools, arts groups, and regional associations.

In 2008 he was appointed Dean of the Faculty and then promoted to Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean in 2011. He also serves as the Chair of the Council of Deans for the Associated Colleges of the South.

In his spare time, Dr. Beckford enjoys sailing, running, a never-ending project to revitalize his backyard, and his grandchildren.  

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John Beckford