Maestros mourn invaluable opera aide

Maestros mourn invaluable opera aide


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2020

We have been informed that Ann Beckman died on Sunday morning at the age of 69. She held the title of director of studies at Zurich Opera for twenty years and was much in demand elsewhere.

Here’s her most recent CV from Salzburg:

Ann Beckman comes from Kansas / USA, where she completed her studies in piano and conducting. After graduating, she worked as a pianist and musical assistant at the Portland Opera and as a song accompanist at the Berkshire Music Center with Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and John Wustman; then she was hired as a musical assistant at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. In 1978 she was engaged at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein / Düsseldorf, then at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and in 1986 as a director of studies at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. In 1992 she moved to the Zurich Opera House in the same position, where she was the director of studies / pianist and musical assistant to conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Marc Minkowski, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Franz Welser-Möst until 2012.Ariadne on Naxos she also played the solo piano in the orchestra of the Vienna Philharmonic. In addition, she supervised numerous productions at the Théâtre du Châtelet and L’Opéra National de Paris as well as at the Festival de Radio France in Montpellier.


Cause of death is not yet known.



  • A. Zucena says:

    What an incredible loss. Rip.

  • Father Time says:

    As stated here previously… cause of death is no one’s business. Is there no privacy any longer. She’s dead. Mourn don’t question it or go looking for detail. It’s creepy and frankly prurient!

  • JR says:

    She will be sorely missed by all who enjoyed her company and wonderful musicianship.

  • Janet McKenna says:

    Ann and I share growing up in Kansas and being classmates through high school. Her achievements certainly portray her love of music.

  • Liz Post says:

    Ann and I were friends in Concordia, Kansas during high school and college. We stayed in contact until about 10 years ago. One of my favorite memories of Ann was when I was “helping” her during a high school performance at the piano by being the “page turner” for her music (as if she needed one). I accidently knocked all the music from the piano onto the keys which then slid to the floor. Ann continued to play while I groped under the piano for all the music. When I finally got it all collected, it was out of order for her performance. She laughed and forgave me, thank goodness.

  • Mary Emery Anderson says:

    Ann was my next door neighbor and best friend when we were very little girls, and even at age 4, she was the most imaginative person I’ve ever known. I think we classmates all knew Ann was destined to be a successful music professional. Rest in peace, old friend.