About the College News & Events Academics Advising Performance and Exhibit Season Collaboration Support the Arts

News & Events

<< Back

Percussionist virtuoso to perform with the Radford University Percussion Ensemble

Bob Becker

It makes sense that percussionist Bob Becker would favor African percussion traditions and that this would manifest itself in his performances. This favoritism often shows itself in his xylophone ragtime, an American musical form that originated in the early 20th century and has its roots in both African syncopation and European classical music.

The audience who attends the upcoming Radford University Percussion Ensemble concert featuring guest artist Bob Becker will experience two of Becker’s original xylophone ragtime pieces along with several of his other compositions.

RU Department of Music percussion professor Dr. Rob Sanderl says of Becker, “Bob is widely regarded as one of the greatest percussionists ever. I have wanted to bring him to RU since I arrived five years ago. He is a master on numerous instruments, and travels the globe performing and teaching."

RU percussion students will have the opportunity to learn from Becker through master classes, rehearsals and by actually performing onstage with him. Each student will accompany him on at least one piece during the concert.

Students in the Percussion Ensemble include: Katelyn Dobbins, John Watson, Cary Anderson, Sean Brazel, Jeremy Marks, Pat McBride, Bethany Zalecki, Erica Johnson, Jesse Lykins, Coleman Gilleland, Chris Livernois, Rachel Moore, Callie Dupree, Matt Hollaway, Benji Cantrell, Brian Peters and Natalie Gibbs.

Becker’s musical background includes co-founding the percussion group NEXUS and performing with them since 1971. In 1999, he and the other members of the group were inducted into the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame. For the past 40 years, Becker has also been a regular member of the ensemble Steve Reich and Musicians. In 2006, the International Association of Traditional Drummers recognized Becker as a “Master Drummer.”

Since 1988, Becker has been associated with Malletech, where he helped design the Ragtime/Soloist xylophone, as well as the Bob Becker signature xylophone mallets and snare drum sticks. He is also an endorser and designer for the Sabian cymbal company and was honored with Sabian’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

He holds the degrees Bachelor of Music with Distinction and Master of Music (Performance and Literature) from the Eastman School of Music.

The Percussion Ensemble concert featuring Becker is Tuesday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Performance Hall of the Covington Center. Admission is free. For more information, call the RU College of Visual and Performing Art’s Department of Music at 540- 831-5027. For more information about the Department of music visit www.radford.edu/music.

Apr 7, 2014