Thomas J. Beczkiewicz
Founding Director of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis

Education

Born in 1936 into an Indiana family that had been active in local, state and even national politics, it came as no surprise that, despite his early music studies in his home state, Thomas J. Beczkiewicz went to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where, in 1957, he was graduated with honors in history and government.

With a degree in hand and some post-graduate work, he left for Europe to take a position as history master at the renowned Institut Montana in Switzerland. After more graduate work at the University of Aix-en-Provence in France and the Jung Institut in Zurich, Switzerland, Tom became the Dean of the American School of the Institut Montana, building it into one of Europe's best college preparatory schools.

In 1964, he returned to the States to begin his doctoral studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he won the prestigious University Fellowship in Literature. He completed his doctoral studies in 1969 and went to the University of Louisville where, as assistant professor, he established the university's first American Studies Program.

Tom and FamilyIn 1971, he married Anna-Maria Dowgiallo, better known as Ania, a talented scenic designer and artist from Poland. A year later, daughter Jona was born, and the family moved to Indianapolis so Tom might combine his education experience with government service.

Government Service

After a year with the State Department of Education and the birth of son Paul, he accepted a position as Senior Legislative Analyst in Education and the Arts for the Legislative Council of Indiana. There he directed the Post-Secondary Education Study that resulted in the restructuring of vocational education governance in Indiana, establishing a legislative model which has since been copied in many states.

In 1975, Tom became the director of the Indiana Project for Consumer and Economic Education because of his wide experience in educational research and curricular planning. Combining both consumer and economic concepts for the first time in state-wide guidelines, the Project established another first in the nation.

International Violin Competition

1981-Tom and the Late Prof Josef Gingold planning the 1st competition

Tom and Josef

Tom left government service in 1977, and founded his own consulting firm that specialized in research, planning, and development for both public and private organizations, with particular emphasis on education and the arts. Cathedral Arts emerged as a major client, finally requiring Tom to give up his firm as he became executive director of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis which made its debut in 1982. Since then, the Competition has evolved into one of the world's most influential music contests and violin festivals.

Among the dozens of major artists whose careers were launched and nurtured in Indianapolis are virtuoso violinists Kyoko Takezawa of Japan, Olivier Charlier of France, Ida Kavafian of the United States, Leonidas Kavakos of Greece, Marco Rizzi of Italy, and Mihaela Martin of Romania.

In addition to helping shape the careers of promising young talents, Tom has published extensively on the philosophy of international music competitions, with his guidelines now serving as the model for new competitions worldwide. He organized the first Pan-American Council of International Music Competitions in 1986; and two years later, he was elected vice-president of the World Federation of International Music Competitions, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Tom has served as executive producer of eight television productions, including the 1982 documentary of the Violin Competition that aired internationally and won four national awards. In addition, he has served as executive producer of four CDs, the most recent of which was released in Spring 2001. He has also been instrumental in commissioning over a dozen new works for the violin and chamber music repertory, including works by Witold Lutoslawski, Ned Rorem, and Leon Kirchner.

Honors

In 2002, Tom was elected to the Indiana Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He has also been knighted three times, most recently receiving l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres from the French government for his contributions to world culture.

Family

40th Wedding Anniversary

Standing: Alex, Tom, Ania, and Paul
Sitting: Jona and Shannon

Regardless of the honors, awards, and decorations, Tom takes greatest pride in his family. After Jona and Paul entered elementary school, Ania secured her second masters degree and returned to the classroom as an arts teacher in the public schools. The children, besides their academic work, studied music: Jona, the violin and Paul, the cello. Music dominated their school years through college and post-graduate studies though both finally opted for careers in administration and development.

Jona married the distinguished American violinist Alexander Kerr in 1996. Parents of two boys, Noah and Aidan, they now live in Bloomington, Indiana where Alex holds an endowed chair of violin professor at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University.

Paul married Shannon Lohrmann in 2005. They live in Lansing, Michigan where Paul serves as Development Director for the Nature Conservancy.  They are parents of a son Ethan who is as energetic and mischievous as his two cousins.

Spending as much time as they can with the three boys, Tom and Ania, now in retirement, thoroughly enjoy their roles as intolerably proud grandparents. On May 15, 2011, Tom and Ania celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary surrounded by family and friends.

Grandkids