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Robert Scott Beard

Apr 9, 2021

Robert Scott Beard was born on August 24, 1964, and passed away on March 28, 2021.

Dr. Beard was the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Shepherd University and was a nationally recognized pianist, teacher, clinician, author and recording artist. Before becoming Provost at Shepherd, he served the university in several positions, including Professor of Piano, Coordinator of Keyboard Studies, Dean of Graduate Studies and Associate Provost.

Scott, as he was known, was born in Richmond, Virginia to Charles Beard and Carolyn Elizabeth (Toler) Beard, and raised in Rockville, Virginia. He showed musical talent early and began his piano studies with regional teachers Judith Ross and later Judith Siegel. He graduated as salutatorian of his class at Patrick Henry High School in Ashland, Virginia, where he was an honors student across all disciplines, a Talented and Gifted Student, and a participant in numerous fine arts activities in the school, county and state.

In 1982, Scott entered the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where he earned the Bachelor of Music in piano performance in 1986. Scott continued his education earning a Master of Music in Piano Performance and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Maryland. During those years, he studied piano with esteemed teachers Tinka Knopf, Lillian Freundlich, Robert Weirich and Ann Koscielny. Scott always spoke of his gratefulness for the exceptional education he received and enjoyed passing on his experience to the next generation of students.

Scott was one of the leading experts on the music and teaching of 19th-century pedagogue Theodore Leschetizky (1830-1915). His doctoral dissertation and recording, “Leschetizky: Piano Treasures,” represents one of the first major research projects on this composer’s music. Scott believed and lived Leschetizky’s famous aphorism, “No life without art; no art without life.”

Recognized for his outstanding teaching abilities, Scott won 2006 West Virginia Music Teacher of the Year. Scott treasured his piano students, many of whom won prizes in prestigious competitions, including state, regional and national Music Teachers National Association competitions. He also frequently composed pedagogical pieces for his young piano students.

As a pianist, Scott concertized as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral soloist throughout the United States, Europe and South America. His concerts were praised for their poetry, passion and innovative programming. A champion of French piano music, he was a participant for many years in the French Piano Institute held at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, France. There he received the Roussel Foundation Prize for the best performance of that composer’s works, as well as prizes for the best performance of a work by a French composer and the jury prize for Baroque music.

In addition to his career as a pianist, Scott also served as an Associate Artistic Director for Opera Camerata of Washington, D.C., and for many years as organist and music director at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Laurel, MD. Possessing a strong baritone voice, Scott also frequently enjoyed singing for Shepherd University functions and regional worship services.

An exceptionally well-rounded artist, Dr. Beard was also a prolific author and editor, with several popular editions of piano ensemble repertoire from Alfred Publishing Company, Inc., and with Dr. Lucy Mauro co-authored a recently released college-level piano textbook from Oxford University Press which included several of his own compositions and arrangements.

In addition to his career as a pianist and academic, Scott was also an outstanding cook, a generous host, a seasoned traveler and a dedicated friend and colleague. He was also devoted to his numerous dogs over the years. He had an indefatigable work ethic and was an inspiration to all who knew him.

Scott was predeceased by his parents Charles Beard and Carolyn (Toler) Beard. He is survived by his partner of 30 years, Alan Gibson; brother and sister-in-law Chris and Jennifer Beard of Rockville, Virginia; and nephews Nathan Searfoss, Cole Beard and Brady Beard.

Mourners were invited to remotely attend the memorial service, officiated by Reverend Dr. George T. Schramm at Trinity Episcopal Church, via livestream at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 5. (https://www.facebook.com/trinityshepherdstown) In-person viewing will be open to the public at 11 a.m. Masks are required, and safe distancing protocols will be observed. The church is located at 200 West German Street, Shepherdstown WV, 25443.

Gifts in memory of Dr. Scott Beard can be made through the Shepherd University Foundation to the Scott Beard and Alan Gibson Scholarship Fund for Music and Nursing Students. Online gifts can be made by credit card athttps://shepherduniversityfoundation.org/. Gifts by check should be made out to the Shepherd University Foundation and mailed to: Shepherd University Foundation P.O. Box 5000 Shepherdstown, WV 25443. Please note in the check memo line: Scott Beard and Alan Gibson Scholarship Fund for Music and Nursing Students.