He taught music theory and composition at Eastern Kentucky University for almost four decades, taking a “special interest” in his students’ success.
Now, the legacy of Dr. Alan C. Beeler will enhance EKU’s School of Music for generations to come, thanks to a nearly $500,000 gift from his estate to establish the Alan C. Beeler Endowed Professorship in Music. The gift was announced at a Sept. 17 memorial concert honoring Beeler, who taught at EKU from 1970 to 2007 and passed away earlier this year, and featuring performances by music faculty and students of his compositions.
Beeler was an accomplished composer, with published works for solo piano, chorus, chamber ensemble, string orchestra, full orchestra and voice. Many of his compositions were recorded for Parma Records, including Alan Beeler: Quintessence, The Real Beeler, The Vocal Music of Alan Beeler, and Forever Beeler, scheduled for release in early 2017.
He was also a regular member of various woodwind quintets, and has performed with chamber groups on oboe and English horn.
Jeremy Mulholland, interim chair for the EKU School of Music, worked alongside Beeler for the last five years of the latter’s tenure.
“In the time that I had the pleasure of knowing him, he made an indelible impression on me, as he did on our colleagues and student body,” Mulholland said. “He took special interest in the success of his students, encouraging their progress by working with them individually, being active and interested in their academic wellbeing, and most impressively, spending an immense amount of his personal time attending all of their concerts and recitals. This open giving of his time for the students … truly made Dr. Beeler exceptional.”
The Beeler Professorship will provide programmatic and/or salary support for a new or existing faculty position for oboe studies and associated costs, including professional development and research opportunities. Secondary preference will be given to a faculty position for clarinet studies.
Dr. Ann Geers, sister of Dr. Beeler and executor of the estate, was instrumental in selecting EKU as a major beneficiary of Beeler’s estate. Geers is research professor at the Callier Center for Advanced Hearing Research in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas and in the Dallas Cochlear Implant Program at the Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
“This professorship will extend Dr. Beeler’s influence to generations of music students to come,” Geers said. “We look forward to filling this new faculty position with a professor of oboe, Alan’s primary performing instrument from childhood on.”
Mulholland called the estate gift “a continuation of Dr. Beeler’s remarkable and caring generosity. Through this gift, students who did not have the pleasure of knowing Dr. Beeler or having him as a professor will still be cared for, affected and supported. Generations of EKU School of Music students will be able to attend this University and have lessons on their instrument with a full-time professor who is a specialist in their field. This experience, which is so crucial to the development and education of musicians, is something that would not have been possible without the incredible generosity of Dr. Beeler and his family. We at the EKU School of Music are humbled, honored and deeply appreciative of all that Dr. Beeler has given to us in his tenure as professor here and through his estate gift.”
For more information about EKU’s School of Music, visit music.eku.edu.