Robert L. Becker
- 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
Presentation Lecture at the American String Teachers Association National Convention in Louisville, KY Mar of 2014 "Pain-Free Viola Playing at any Age"
May 11 2014 Café Ludwig Chamber Music Series with Orli Shaham Pianist Samueli Auditorium Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25 (Brahms) Segerstrom Performing Arts Raymond Kobler, Violin Robert Becker, Viola Timothy Landauer, Cello
Performance of Shostakovich Viola Sonata with Alexandre Toradze, piano Memorial Auditorium Feb 4, 2014
Performance of the Faure Piano Quartet at the International Academy in Cremona, Italy August, 2013 Video is on UTube
Soloist and Conductor: Telemann Viola Concerto in G Major International Academy and Competition for Strings, Cremona Italy August 2013
A Complete List of other Performances is detailed in my Tenure Review File