BECK, JOHANN HEINRICH (12 Sept. 1856-26 May 1924), was a noted conductor, composer, teacher, and violinist. Born in Cleveland to Charles and Rebecca (Butler) Beck, he completed his musical education in Europe at the Leipzig Conservatory (1879-82), where he premiered his own String Quartet in C Minor at the Gewandhaus. Returning to Cleveland, he was active in music in the city for many years. Heard frequently in concert as a violinist, he organized the Schubert String Quartet in 1877 and later the BECK STRING QUARTET, which gave frequent concerts during the 1880s. He directed the Detroit Symphony, 1895-96, and appeared with other important orchestras conducting his own works. Together with EMIL RING, he led local orchestras under various names, preluding the formation of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA in 1918.
As a composer, Beck produced an unfinished opera, Salammbo (1887- ), and over a dozen orchestral works. The Cleveland Orchestra included his Lara overture in a concert on 18 Dec. 1919 to critical acclaim. His chamber works include various piano pieces, songs, choral pieces, and string quartets. Beck's bust now stands at the entry to the Fine Arts Div. of the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY, which houses an extensive collection of his manuscripts. Beck married Mary Blanding Fellar of Tiffin, Ohio, in 1890. They had 1 son, Henry J., and a daughter, Hildegarde. Beck was buried in WOODLAND CEMETERY.