» Robert L. Becker
Associate Professor

College of Performing Arts
Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music
Robert L. Becker
Director of String Studies
Office Location:
Bertea Hall 219
(714) 289-2081
The Juilliard School, Bachelor of Music
The Juilliard School, Master of Music in Performance

A graduate of the Juilliard School, Assistant Professor Robert Becker was appointed to the position of Director of String Studies at Chapman University’s Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music in 2006.  From 1982 to the present day, he has been the Principal Viola of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra for all performances, tours, and recordings. The James and Catherine Emmi Foundation underwrites his position with PSO. He is a past recipient of Chapman University’s Excellence in Teaching Award for 2011. In the summer of 2013, he will be guest soloist/artist at the festival as well as presiding over the International String and Piano Competition in Cremona, Italy at the invitation of that host committee. In March of 2012, he was invited by the American String Teacher’s Association to present a lecture at its national convention in Atlanta, GA on “Preparing Your Young Violist for Pain-Free Playing and Limitless Musical Options.” Serving as a string adjudicator for both ASTA competitions on the west coast and VOCE competitions, he is highly sought after as a judge and workshop presenter at all levels of string playing. In 2011 he was invited to preside over two conference presentations at the ASTA convention as his national and international reputation as a string pedagogue continues. His students have gone on to graduate study at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Hartt College of Music, New England Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, and are members of nationally known orchestras and chamber music ensembles.

As Principal Viola of the Pacific Symphony, Becker has been heard as the solo violist for all visiting ballets at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center for which the orchestra has performed. Those internationally known companies include ABT, the Cuba ballet, Danish ballet and others. As PSO Principal Viola under the baton of Maestro Carl St. Clair, he has appeared on stage over the last few seasons with Pinchas Zukerman, Andre Watts, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Conrad Tau, Sarah Chang and has participated in the recording and release of new works by Phillip Glass, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Frank Ticheli, and Richard Danielpour. Also in his capacity as Principal, he has served as chairman of the audition panel for viola seating auditions. In this role, he was also Principal Viola for the PSO’s European tour with acclaimed performances in Munich, Lucerne, Frankfort and Vienna among others. Professor Becker also serves as a musician representative to the Board of Directors of the Pacific Symphony, its Investment Committee and the Board Affairs Committee.

Having organized the first chamber music series for fellow piano and string faculty at Chapman in 2013, Mr. Becker looks forward to expanding that series into the new Musco Performing Arts Center upon its completion. As a chamber music soloist he continues to be a featured performer on the “Café Ludwig” series at the Samueli Concert Hall with guest artist, pianist Orli Shaham. Repertoire this season included the Dvorak “Piano Quintet in A Major”, Tchaikovsky “Souvenir de Florence,” Martinu “Madrigals,” Bruch “Trio for Viola, Clarinet and Piano” among numerous other works. Continuing his significant quartet and chamber music career in Orange County presently, it should be noted that while a past member of the Aspen Music Festival faculty, he served as the student chamber music coordinator there. As the violist of the New York String Quartet from 1978-1982, he moved with that quartet to California to be in residence at UCI. A founding member of the American String Quartet, Becker is a former winner of both the Naumberg Chamber Music Award and the Coleman Chamber Music Associations 1st Place Vera Barstow Award.

Voted “Artist of the Year” by Arts Orange County for the year 2010, he is honored to continue his involvement within that talented and diverse community. Also a recipient of the John Stahr Award for contribution to the Orange County Arts community, he received the “Maestro” Award from the Warne Family Foundation for his contribution to “The Performing Arts” in 2012.

Mr. Becker can also be heard on more than 400 film scores, numerous television productions and diverse recordings in all musical genres from “Desperate Housewives” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” to jazz recordings with Wayne Shorter, to country recordings with Ray Price, Johnny Cash, and yes, even Elvis. His discography recently includes “Mickey’s Musical Maps” for Disney as well as many recordings as Principal Viola for the Disney Theme Parks internationally.

Hosting workshops on orchestral techniques for both the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, he also presented master classes for the PSYO and the Las Vegas Academy of the Performing Arts in 2012. He was also invited to present a lecture about his work in 2011 to the Southern California Band and Orchestra Association Teachers Association on ”DeMystifying the Viola.” This presentation was assisted in part by the Chapman Student String Quartet. Follow-up presentations will continue throughout the upcoming academic year. An active string workshop presenter for visiting high schools on the Chapman campus and recruiting tours, he has given lecture/workshops on technique, musicianship, and orchestral training skills for well over 1000+ string players in 2013.

Every summer since 2000, The Viola Workout has been sponsored and coordinated in Crested Butte, Co. by Robert Becker. This workshop was started to focus on string pedagogy and chamber music primarily for Chapman students to integrate teaching emphasis, practice regime and techniques, outdoor experiences, fly-fishing, and to introduce string students to the college experience via master classes and performances  (see The Viola Workout.com for further info). This “workout” has been attended by local teachers, young professionals, fellow teaching professionals, future Chapman students, present Chapman students, and is instrumental in their maturation process as artists and teachers.

Professor Becker is also an avid fly fisherman, oenophile, mediocre but persistent golfer, foodie, and VERY slow backpacker. He has been married to Linda F. Becker since August 1, 1970 and they are proud parents of twin daughters Laura and Allison.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications
Recordings as Principal Viola Pacific Symphony Phillip Glass "Passion of the RamaKrishna"
Principal Viola- Pacific Symphony Orchestra's Recording of "The Passion" of the Rama Krishna" Maestro Carl St. Clair, Pacific Chorale live recording was released just prior to the start of the 2012-2013 academic year (August 2012). An historical event in the musical life of composer Phillip Glass
Performances as Principal Viola Pacific Symphony Orchestra
January 12-14, 2012 Family Foundation Classical Series Principal Viola Sidereus (Golijov) Concerto No. 2 in F Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 21 (Chopin) Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 (Tchaikovsky)
February 23-25, 2012 Classical Series Principal Viola Adagio for Strings (Barber) Radio City (2011) for Orchestra: Symphonic Fantasy on Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra (Daugherty) Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 35 (Tchaikovsky)
March 1-3, 2012 Classical Series Principal Viola Overture to Semiramide (Rossini) Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19 (Bartok) Concerto No. 3 in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 30 (Rachmaninoff)
March 3, 2012 Family Musical Mornings Principal Viola Hansel and Gretel (Excerpts) (Humperdinck)
April 19, 21, 24, 2012 Classical Series: La Boheme Principal Viola La Boheme
May 3-5, 2012 Pops: Cirque de la Symphonie Principal Viola Fanfare for the Common Man (Copland) Harry's Wondrous World (Williams) Tico Tico No Fuba (De Abreu) Danzon No. 2 (Marquez) Dance Boheme from Carmen, Suite No. 2 (Bizet) Les Toreadors from Carmen, Suite No. 1 (Bizet) Thunder and Lightning Polka, Op. 324 (J. Strauss, Jr.) Claire de Lune from Suite Bergamasque, L. 75 (Debussy) Scene and Gypsy Song and Fandango (Rimsky-Korsakov) Asturiana from Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34 (Rimsky-Korsakov) Dance of the Swans from Swan Lake, Op. 20a (Tchaikovsky) Overture from The Phantom of the Opera (Lloyd Webber) Ride of the Valkyries (Wagner) Galop from The Comedians, Op. 26 (Kabalevsky) Can-can from Orpheus in the Underworld (Offenbach) Overture to Colas Breugnon (Kabalevsky) Introduction from Also Sprach Zarathustra (R. Strauss) Bolero (Ravel)
May 10-12, 2012 Classical Series Principal Viola Sattha for Strings, Piano and Percussion (Prangcharoen) Concerto No. 1 in G Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 25 (Mendelssohn) Symphony in C Major, D. 944 ("The Great C Major") (Schubert)
May 12, 2012 Family Musical Mornings: Happily Ever After? Principal Viola Overture to Candide (Bernstein) Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34 (Britten) Waltz from The Sleeping Beauty (Tchaikovsky) The Montagues and the Capulets from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 (Prokofiev) Don Juan, Op. 20 (R. Strauss) March from The Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33 (Prokofiev) Allegro con brio from Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 (Beethoven) Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61 (Mendelssohn) Sabre Dance from Gayane Suite NO. 3 (Khachaturian)
May 31-June 2, 2012 Classical Series Principal Viola Rest (Ticheli) Radiant Voices (Ticheli) Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op.125 (Beethoven)
June 3, 2012 Classical Connections Principal Viola Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op.125 (Beethoven)
June 7-9, 2012 Pops Principal Viola Surf's Up! (Brian Wilson/Mike Love Arr. Robert Wendel) Central Park Rag (Fratena) Chicago (That Toddlin' Town) (Fisher/Arr. Bill Holcombe) Suite from Animal House (Elmer Bernstein Arr. Patrick Russ) Olympic Fanfare (John Williams) An Old-Fashioned Summer (Various/Arr. Robert Wendel) The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa)
July 4, 2012 July 4th Spectacular - Music of the Eagles Principal Viola Liberty Fanfare (Williams) Jurassic Park (Williams) Theme from Jaws (Williams) March from 1941 (Williams) Flying Theme from E.T. (Williams) Main Title from Star Wars (Williams) Armed Forces Salute (Various) America the Beautiful (Ward) Washington Post March (Sousa) Semper Fidelis (Sousa) Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa)
A List of other Performances is available in my 5th Year Critical Review File
Recordings as Principal Viola Pacific Symphony Bolcom "Prometheus"
Principal Viola for Blizzard Entertainment "Diablo III" video game recording, released 2012
Performances as Principal Viola Pacific Symphony Orchestra
January 16, 2011 Café Ludwig: Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven! Violist Sonata for Horn and Piano in F Major, Op. 117 (Beethoven)* Clarinet Trio No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 11 (Beethoven)* Septet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 (Beethoven) May 8, 2011 Café Ludwig: Music and Art Violist Suite from Mother Goose (Ravel)* The Tiger's Ear (Adolphe) Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky)* October 30, 2011 Café Ludwig Violist Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70 (Tchaikovsky) February 12, 2012 Café Ludwig Violist Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 15 (Faure) May 13, 2012 Café Ludwig Violist Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola, H. 313 (Martinu) Raymond Kobler, violin Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 (Dvorak)
August 27, 2011 Duke Ellington Orchestra Principal Viola Slava! A Political Overture (Bernstein) Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town" (Bernstein) An American in Paris (Gershwin)
Principal/Solo Viola Paramount Pictures Re-Creation of "Wings" for its 100th anniversary
August 27, 2011 Duke Ellington Orchestra Principal Viola Slava! A Political Overture (Bernstein) Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town" (Bernstein) An American in Paris (Gershwin)
September 3, 2011 Tchaikovsky Spectacular Principal Viola Festive Overture, Op. 96 (Shostakovich) The Enchanted Lake, Op. 62 (Liadov) Suite from "Sleeping Beauty", Op. 66a (Tchaikovsky) Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18 (Rachmaninoff) Overture 1812, Op. 49 (Tchaikovsky)
September 22-24, 2011 Family Foundation Classical Series Principal Viola I Would Plant a Tree (Howard) Concerto in E minor for Violin & Orchestra (Mendelssohn) Roman Carnival Overture (Berlioz) Pines of Rome (Respighi)
October 20-22, 2011 Classical Series Principal Viola Prayer of St. Gregory (Hovhaness) Concerto No. 21 in C Major for Piano and Orchestra, K. 467 (Mozart) Also Sprach Zarathustra (R. Strauss) On the Beautiful Blue Danube (Johann Strauss, Jr.)
October 22, 2011 Family: A Halloween Whodunit Principal Viola Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 (Bach) The Composer is Dead, with text by Lemony Snicket (Stookey) Symphony No. 9: Finale, D Minor, Op. 125 (Beethoven)
October 23, 2011 2011-2012 Pedals and Pipes Organ Series Principal Viola Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 (Bach) Funeral March of a Marionette (Gounod) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1920 film
November 10-12, 2011 2011-2012 Pops Series Principal Viola American Salute (Gould) I'll Walk Alone from "Follow the Boys" (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn) Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree from "Yokel Boy" (Stept/Brown/Tobais) Prologue & Main Title from "The Guns of Navarone" (Tiomkin) (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover (Kent/Burton) In the Mood (Miller arr. Razaf/Garland) Waitin' for the Train to Come in (Skylar/Block) We'll Meet Again (Parker/Charles) Armed Forces Salute (arr. Louden) Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa) Live and Let Die: A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney
November 17-19, 2011 Family Foundation Classical Series Principal Viola Symphony No. 9 in D Major (Mahler)
December 8-10, 2011 Family Foundation Classical Series Principal Viola Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 8 (Corelli) Holberg Suite, Op. 40 (Grieg) The Four Seasons, Op. 8, Nos. 1-4 (Vivaldi)