CRAFTON BECK is now in his twenty-first season as Music Director and Conductor of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. In the spring of 2019 he concluded his twenty-second and final season as Music Director and Conductor of the Lima Symphony Orchestra in Ohio. He has also appeared as guest conductor with over thirty American orchestras including the Milwaukee Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the New World Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony, the Delaware Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic, the Sacramento Symphony, and the Florida Orchestra.
The scope of his musical versatility is reflected in his talent as an arranger of over eighty musical selections, most of which have appeared on recordings by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Two of these albums have received Grammy Award Nominations. Mr. Beck’s relationship with that orchestra dates back to 1990, when he began a six-year post as assistant to Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Such orchestras as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl have also performed Mr. Beck’s arrangements.
In 2015, he was the recipient of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Best Musical Composition for his composition Passage, which was premiered by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra in 2015.
Born in Arkansas, Mr. Beck studied clarinet for many years before choosing a career in conducting. In 1987, he received a doctorate in conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Previous studies were at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the Aspen School. In 1986 and 1987, he served on the Carlton College faculty near Minneapolis, where he was Conductor of Orchestras.