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Bek, Anton J., 1908-1990



  • Existence: 1908 - 1990


Anton J. Bek was a long-time member of the Texas State University Music Department. Born in 1908 in Utica, New York, he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from DePaul University. In 1936 he married Honore Wesley Bek (1914-2001). They had three children: Marcia, Warren, and Rolland.

In 1940 Mr. Bek became a Taliesin Fellow working with Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentices during the day and then performing for the famed architect on the weekends. Wright originally wanted his apprentices to learn to play music, but Bek quickly discovered having them sing would be more easily accomplished. Bek spent five years at Taliesin before joining the faculty at Southwest Teachers College in 1945. The school eliminated the Bachelor of Music degree so in 1951 Bek organized the remaining students into the Stage Orchestra, which eventually became the Stage Band. Because there was no budget to support this endeavor, Bek created the sheet music himself using a record player and blank sheet music he had designed himself. He copied the music by ear onto the sheets, a process that could take from three to seven days. In all he created 75 arrangements in this manner. In the 1950s Bek took over direction of the marching band from Dr. Robert Tampke and helped form the first drill teams and baton twirlers. He also hosted both Strings Clinics and Strings Camps for area middle and high school band students.

Mr. Bek died in 1990 and is buried in the San Marcos Cemetery.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Anton J. Bek papers

Identifier: 2017-006

This collection contains materials related to Anton J. Bek, and the School of Music at Texas State University. It includes music scores, photos, clippings and one artifact. Many of the musical scores were created by Bek himself using a record player. He copied the music by ear onto blank sheet music, a process that could take from three to seven days, as there was no music program at that time.

Dates: circa 1940s-1991