Joseph Beckitt

Pianist, Composer, Accompanist, Teacher


Photo credit: Henry Choo Photography

Joseph Beckitt is a highly accomplished and versatile Melbourne-based musician who has studied and performed at the highest level. Born in Hobart Tasmania, he completed a degree at the Conservatorium of Tasmania, double majoring in piano with Victoria Burley and composition under Don Kay. Moving to Melbourne in 1997, he completed a Masters of Music Performance degree at the Victorian College of the Arts studying composition with Mark Pollard, and piano with Dr. Donna Coleman.

As a pianist he has performed several concertos with orchestra including: Ravel Piano Concerto in G, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Shostakovitch Piano Concerto No 2, and his own Piano Concerto No 1. In recital, he maintains an interest in promoting piano repertoire of the twentieth century. He has premiered all his own piano works, as well as works of many other composers. He is a sought-after accompanist, having worked with the Australian Boys choir, Opera Scholars Australia, and as an associate artist with many musicians. He is equally comfortable within improvised forms. He has performed in many other ensembles, currently being the keyboard player for Australia’s premier soul and rhythm and blues revue “Briefcase Full of Blues”.

Joseph is also an experienced piano teacher, having started over 25 years ago with some private pupils. Since moving to Melbourne, he has taught at Scotch college, Parade College, Westbourne Grammar School and The Geelong College. He has had much success as a teacher, with students completing Diploma examinations, and some continuing through to study music at University.

Joseph has worked in various theatre music forms around Melbourne and in Hobart over the last 25 years in multiple capacities. In classical forms, he was worked as a repetiteur, associate artist, and orchestral pianist member. In contemporary forms, he has worked as a rehearsal pianist, band member, and also as a Musical Director. His most recent highlight is being chosen by Australian Music royalty Judi Conelli and Suzanne Johnston to be musical director for the Concert for the Animals (2015), working with household names including: Debra Byrne, John O’May, Bernadette Robinson and Jonathon Welch. He is currently employed at Federation University’s Arts Academy (Ballarat), working with undergraduate Musical Theatre students as a pianist for second and third year repertoire classes.

Being a professional pianist, it is no surprise that Joseph’s compositions heavily feature writing for the piano. His influences are wide and varied including: Igor Stravinsky, Gerald Finzi, Bela Bartok, Carl Vine, Alberto Ginastera, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Adam Guettel and Maurice Ravel. His harmonic language uses extensions found from jazz and popular music, structures loosely based in minimalism and throughcomposed forms, and uses melodies often in a sincerly romantic style. Although none of his works have been published, other major works of Joseph’s are: Piano Concerto (1994), music for theatre work – “A Pregnant Pause” (1993), several art songs including settings of poems by David Malouf and W B Yeats (1999), as well as several pieces written for local Tasmanian television documentaries.