Tom Beckmen got involved with the Colburn School at the invitation of then-Board Chairman Carol Colburn Grigor. “We both served on the board of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and she asked me to come over and help out at Colburn,” he recalls.
Mr. Beckmen accepted her invitation and has since become a staunch supporter of the school in a variety of ways. “This is a great institution,” he says, “and the more I learn, the more I see, the most I believe it’s the greatest institution on Grand Avenue.”
A music industry veteran, Mr. Beckmen was bitten by the music bug in elementary school when an assembly concert inspired him to pick up the trombone. When his performance career came to an end in college, he went to work selling brass instruments to young musicians all over the United States. In the early 70s, Mr. Beckmen encountered the burgeoning field of electronic music and helped start a company to manufacture them. After forty-five years of supporting music and musicians, he retired, though his passion for music and performance persists.
“When I attend performances at concert halls all over the country, I see audiences getting older and older,” he says. “What the Colburn School is doing is developing patrons of the future, people who will help preserve classical music either by performing it on stage or listening to it from the audience.”
Mr. Beckmen and his wife, Judith, have always been involved with the arts. When it came time to make their estate arrangements, they selected a few arts organizations to support, including the Colburn School. “I felt it was important to give a lead gift as a member of the Board of Directors,” he says. “I hope my gift inspires more people to think about the future and decide how they can best have an impact here.”
Mr. Beckmen hopes his gift will provide a way for many musicians to develop their passion, whether they go on to performing careers or not. “I see these young people working hard. I remember what music meant to me and how it structured my life, the discipline it inspired in me. That was the kind of discipline I needed to run my own business, to work successfully with other people.”
Music will continue to be Mr. Beckmen’s passion. “There’s nothing like sitting in an orchestra hall and hearing live musicians play,” he says. “And there’s no better place for someone to leave his money than the Colburn School to make sure that opportunity endures for generations to come.”